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Old 03-27-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
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School Uniforms.

Should school uniforms be manditory in public school? I think they would help stem those kids who claim to be part of some gang. It will eventually help later in life when it comes to getting a job. Many poor countries and rich countries make the students wear uniforms. Why not have our kids wear them. As reported in the article one researcher said, grades improved and drop out's lowered.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/qws/ff...&Submit=S&st=s
Quote:
BAY AREA
Studies divided on effects of school uniform

Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When a Napa seventh-grader was cited for wearing Winnie the Pooh-themed socks in class and struck back with a lawsuit, it marked an odd but not unprecedented clash in the decadelong spread of dress codes and uniform policies at public schools.

The seventh-grader and five other students at Redwood Middle School, along with their parents, say the school's dress code is so strict that it amounts to a uniform policy. California law allows parents to opt out of dressing children in uniforms -- a choice that Redwood Middle School doesn't offer.

The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, highlights the push and pull between parents who feel uniforms have squeezed their kids' right to free expression and school officials who say rules on clothing can contribute to safer, more productive campuses.

The officials say uniforms eliminate gang symbols, identify intruders, remove fashion as a distraction and foster unity. Critics say schools haven't demonstrated that they work.

Although California law has allowed uniform or dress-code policies since 1983, the issue didn't receive a strong push until 1996, when former President Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union address, decried instances of teenagers "killing each other over designer jackets."

A decade later, experts say up to a quarter of elementary and middle schools require pupils to wear uniforms. In San Francisco, 40 of 86 elementary and middle schools have them. Schools in Antioch, among other places, are considering them.

But studies have revealed mixed results. And many Bay Area school officials acknowledged in interviews that they have never tried to measure whether the uniforms are working.

A study last year by Virginia Draa, an assistant professor of human ecology at Youngstown State University, concluded that Ohio high schools that introduced uniforms in 1997 achieved improvements in graduation and attendance rates, and drops in suspensions, that were not seen in other schools in the state.

"Appearance matters," Draa said in an interview. "A school that doesn't have uniforms is like a fashion show every morning."

Draa referred to what one researcher has called "the halo effect," in which teachers may give more effort to students who appear to be more engaged.

But David Brunsma, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia who has written two books about the school uniform movement, says he has found no correlation between uniforms and the performance or safety of students.

He said uniforms have been adopted primarily at urban schools with many poor and minority students whose parents, while struggling to make ends meet, "are more likely to defer to educational authority."

However, Brunsma said, "It's a coat of paint. People drive by, see the uniforms and say, 'Wow, that school is really doing something.' "

Several schools that implemented uniform policies abandoned them because of the state-mandated opt-out requirement. Once too many families opt out, officials say, the programs lose their effectiveness.

In the late 1990s, the Modesto school district required uniforms at most of its 23 elementary schools. But the policy started "unraveling," said district spokeswoman Shannon Craghead, with two or three schools dropping out per year. Just four schools with uniforms remain.

Locally, schools in Newark and Santa Rosa have dropped uniforms because too few children were wearing them.

Asked about the momentum caused by parents opting out, ACLU attorney Ann Brick, who once sued the Oakland school district over its uniform waiver system, said, "That tells you parents aren't supporting it."

Draa countered, "Parents who fight uniform policies believe they can give their kids a social advantage because they can afford to dress them better than everyone else."

The opt-out option is at the heart of the lawsuit against the Napa middle school. The school insists its dress code -- mandating that students wear solid colors in cotton or corduroy, with no logos or designs -- is not a uniform policy. But letting students at Redwood opt out of the dress code would "defeat the whole purpose," said Napa Valley schools Superintendent John Glaser.

"If we let one kid wear designer jeans and logos, it opens the door for others," Glaser said. "We think a small measure of discipline is not unreasonable."

Donnell Scott, the mother of two girls who have sued Redwood -- including one who was disciplined for wearing socks with the Pooh character Tigger on them -- said the district has gone too far.

"This is a public school," Scott said. "It's my job to decide what's appropriate for them. It's (the school's) job to educate.''

Opting out isn't an issue at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in San Francisco's Portola district, which has had uniforms since 1996. School officials don't tell parents they have a choice.

If anyone asked for a waiver, "we'd strongly encourage them to adopt the school uniform policy," Principal Gilbert Cho said.

Students at the school must wear black khakis and white shirts, plus a red sweater that costs $40 at a nearby store. Cho said the uniform "takes away that peer pressure, the bragging rights that come with a $300 jacket. Kids judge each other by their personality, their academic performance and their athleticism."

Visitacion Valley Middle School, which has mandated black-and-white uniforms since the early 1990s, also does not publicize the opt-out provision.

If a parent asks? "I don't know," said Principal James Dierke, who keeps a washer and dryer on campus to make sure his kids are properly outfitted. "It hasn't been a big deal in this environment."

The administrators' enthusiasm for the uniforms is not shared by their subjects.

"I don't feel comfortable," 14-year-old Paris Burch said as one of his classes began at Martin Luther King Jr. "I don't even dress like this when I go to church."

"Other schools have free dress, and I'm jealous," said classmate Daisy Concha, 13. "We look really ... schooly."

E-mail Demian Bulwa at dbulwa@sfchronicle.com.
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Old 03-27-2007, 01:29 PM   #2
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My schools have never required uniforms (dress codes, yes), but personally I don't know of any arguments against them, as long as they're not requiring girls to wear skirts.
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Old 03-27-2007, 01:46 PM   #3
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Our district lets each school decide. I have no idea how many schools participate. Mine doesn't, and that's fine with me. I'm not really into uniforms of any kind. I have trouble wearing our school T-shirt on Fridays like everyone else does.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:26 PM   #4
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If they do so, chose some modern, informal stuff.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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Majority of schools in the UK have uniforms...not really for or against them
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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I've never liked the idea of uniforms, mostly because I wear t-shirts that have a message, and if my school had a uniform, I wouldn't be able to wear those shirts.

Our school does have a dress code that includes wearing no alcohol/smoking apparel, no bandanas because they are affiliated with gang behavior, and shorts and skirts can't be obscenely short. I think that's sufficient enough for students.
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:14 PM   #7
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I'm against it. However, I come from a small town where we really didn't have a lot of problems with gangs and violence, and I could see how larger cities might want to turn to uniforms.

We had a dress code, but I didn't think it was strict. I never had a problem following it. It was things like no sleeveless shirts, no hot pants, no hats, nothing that advertises alcohol, etc. Simple stuff.

I enjoyed wearing clothes of my choosing to class. When I think of my friends, I can recall the type of stuff they wore and how it reflected their personalities. I like that.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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I don't think school uniforms will stop gangs and violence.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:43 PM   #9
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I always wore them and I liked it, especially in retrospect. It saved a lot of $ and you didn't have to feel like you're competing with the rich kids for designer jeans and so on.

Plus it made my choice of clothes easy in the morning.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:06 PM   #10
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I lived in Venezuela for 6 months when I was in 1st grade, and the school I went to had uniforms. I don't remember it feeling like a chore. Navy slacks/shorts and a white button up short-sleeve shirt. I think that's the standard issue school uniform, come to think of it.

That's a good point about levelling the playing field, too.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:14 PM   #11
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I think high schools promote conformity too much as it is. For some high school is the last chance of them expressing themselves with what they wear before they hit the real world and have to wear that suit and tie, coveralls or whatever uniform life will give them.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
I lived in Venezuela for 6 months when I was in 1st grade, and the school I went to had uniforms. I don't remember it feeling like a chore. Navy slacks/shorts and a white button up short-sleeve shirt.
Anybody else really hoping for a picture of this?
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:39 PM   #13
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Blazers and ties for most of my teenage years probably had a good effect.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:48 PM   #14
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
I think high schools promote conformity too much as it is. For some high school is the last chance of them expressing themselves with what they wear before they hit the real world and have to wear that suit and tie, coveralls or whatever uniform life will give them.
Do you think it's the school or the kids in the school promoting the conformity? For me, I see it being due to the students. It's all about keeping up with the cool kids - whether it be Abercrombie or UGG boots. I'd love to see some more individual expression, but those kids are usually made fun of for being different.

I guess for me, uniforms aren't a bad thing at all. It's sort of giving the kids a taste of their own medicine - they want to conform and uniforms are the ultimate conformity. Maybe it's just because I went to grade school with uniforms and a high school that required shirt, tie, and jacket.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by randhail


Do you think it's the school or the kids in the school promoting the conformity? For me, I see it being due to the students. It's all about keeping up with the cool kids - whether it be Abercrombie or UGG boots. I'd love to see some more individual expression, but those kids are usually made fun of for being different.

I guess for me, uniforms aren't a bad thing at all. It's sort of giving the kids a taste of their own medicine - they want to conform and uniforms are the ultimate conformity. Maybe it's just because I went to grade school with uniforms and a high school that required shirt, tie, and jacket.
I see your point. And yes it's probably coming from both sides. But I was thinking more along the lines of conformity of thought, the art kids aren't going to try and compete with the latest fashions of the popular kids. I know kids who didn't have much more say than the t-shirt they wore, otherwise they were pretty invisible. At least that's how they felt, but that little bit of expression was very important to them.
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