Currently in America an on going debate continues regarding a uniform policy suggested to public and private schools. This develops into a controversial issue because valid argument exist on both sides. Giving this issue much thought has lead me to believe that making school uniforms mandatory would help the school systems. School uniforms would help unruly classrooms, also students would not have to buy expensive clothes and students would not get killed over tennis shoes.
Schools that have adopted uniforms have reported several advantages. Some school systems including ones in Miami, Detroit, and Los Angeles have adopted a voluntary uniform policy. Under this plan schools do not require students to wear their uniform, but most students cooperate. In the fall of 1994, the Long Beach Unified School District became the first in the nation to require uniforms, hoping to improve the overall conduct and scholastic records of their students. This school system feels that dressing students the same would eliminate the pressure of fitting in, build up students self-esteem, and augment student moral. Parents, teachers, and students agree that wearing uniforms would decrease arguments that begin over expensive clothing and sneakers. School systems hope uniforms will help to eliminate gang violence caused by students wearing rival gang colors. Uniforms would also prevent the wealthier students from picking on their less fortunate classmates because they can not afford to dress the same. Although no evidence confirms that the uniform policy will improve academic achievement, the Long Beach Unified School District reported a 50% decline in the number of disturbances at school and bus stops in their district. Overall, the Long Beach Unified School District has set an example for other schools planning to adopt the uniform policy by showing noticeable improvements in specific areas of its educational environment.
Opponents of the uniform policy say it comes with disadvantages. Not all students want to fit in. Instead, they value their freedom and individuality. Students feel that making school uniforms mandatory takes away their right to self-expression. Opponents feel that uniforms are just a new gimmick that will have little effect on education. Also, school uniforms would prove costly for the students.
On the other hand some people argue that uniforms are cheaper than buying children street clothing. However, opponents still feel that uniforms should not become a requirement. Most of the schools adopting uniforms are choosing so many other reforms that they will have difficulty proving that uniforms deserve praise. Skepticism, economics, and students reluctance to wear uniforms will continue to further decrease the popularity of uniforms in our schools system.
In conclusion, making uniforms mandatory in schools definitaly has its pros and cons, which makes the issue very difficult to agree on. Uniforms might improve the overall behavior of students by lifting school spirit and decreasing altercations caused over expensive articles of clothing, but no evidence exists that links uniforms to any aspect of education. Furthermore wearing school uniforms takes away a students right to self-expression and will cost parents a fortune. But as President Bill Clinton stated in his State of the Union Address, maybe schools should be allowed to require uniforms if it would mean teenagers will stop killing each other over designer jackets.