Uniforms in the School Environment: Can Clothing Really Effect Your Education? Going to public schools all my life, I heard the gossip of “fashion” and “whose wearing what,”pretty much everyday; at least in the four years of high school where it seemed that looks mattered the most. As people grow up, the way they present themselves becomes more and more important. Leaving a good mark in high school means a lot to some people, and some are ready to do whatever it takes to make that mark, whether it be putting someone down for their clothing or being an individual and not caring what others think of you or what your wearing.
Having friends from middle school that branched out and went the alternative route; private schools, one of the first things that came back to me from them was how much easier it was to having a uniform to wear to school. Going to a school where uniforms are strictly enforced can help to create a better learning environment. Having uniforms would call for a lot less distraction in the classroom, there would be much more time for homework and there would not be as many problems concerning the wear of inappropriate clothing to take away from school time.
A quote from the essay, “The Achievement of Desire,” by Richard Rodriguez fits particularly well in this essay. “Get all the education you can, with an education you can do anything. ” This just doesn’t seem like the main idea to many kids anymore and I think that uniforms would help to bring that thought back into a lot of our heads. I know that the idea of wearing a uniform repulses many people, but when broken down, school uniforms really do seem like the way to go.
If it was a requirement to wear a uniform to school, there would be many more kids paying attention in classes. Looking around the classroom at what other kids are wearing is a great way to make time fly by. If everyone was wearing the same things, then the distraction of different clothing would be eliminated. Many people worry that uniforms would take away the opportunity for kids to be who they are or who they want to be, but I feel as though wearing uniforms would simply force kids to show their individualism in ways outside of fashion and appearance.
When looking at an Opinion Board on the internet I came across the idea that visually uniforms result in a more equal and adult treatment of students, eliminating any idea that one student is being favored over another. “Visually, all students were equal. They appeared equal which resulted in more equal treatment from both peers and teachers alike. ” When a student looks presentable, they will not only be treated as a student, but as an equal, which I feel both students and teachers would benefit from.
In the essay, “The ? Banking’ Concept of Education,”written by Paulo Freire, there were two types of education discussed. “Banking”education and “Problem-Posing” education. “Banking” education was looked at with the idea that the teacher was the higher power and the student was simply an object where as in “Problem-Posing” education, the teacher and students both taught and learned the information together. Uniforms would help bring “Problem-Posing” teaching back into the classrooms of many schools.
There would also be a large drop in the amount of teasing that goes on in school. When I asked my old roommate, Maureen Brillante, who attended Sacred Heart Academy about the benefits of going to a school with uniforms, one of the first things she said was that it prevents people’s feelings from being hurt since everyone is wearing the same thing. “There is a lot less gossip about clothes and it is much harder to judge people when everyone looks the same. The atmosphere around the whole school just seems brighter that way,” she said with a big smile on her face.
Having gone to an elementary school that did not have uniforms, Maureen experienced both worlds and found uniforms made high school that much easier to get through. Decisions, Decisions. Should I go home and get my homework done or should I go to the mall and get those new shoes I saw online the other day? Uniforms would help to eliminate one of these decisions. If you had to wear a uniform to school, maybe you would not be in such a rush to go buy the latest clothing, after all, you really can’t even wear it to school. This gives a student more time for homework and studying.
A great deal of studying and focusing is needed to succeed in school, which Richard Rodriguez emphasizes greatly in his essay “The Achievement of Desire. ” “The boy needs to spend more and more time studying, each night enclosing himself in the silence permitted and required by intense concentration. ” Without this concentration Rodriguez speaks of, a student’s grades are bound to suffer. Another benefit of uniforms is that you will save money because you won’t be buying half the amount of clothes that you normally would be if you did not need to wear a uniform. This idea didn’t even cross my mind until my interview with
Maureen. “In the long run, you really start to save money. A few outfits for the weekends are all you really need, and unless the school changes uniforms while you’re there, you can pretty much wear your same uniform for as long as you can fit into it. ” There is also a lot more time in the mornings to wake up and have a healthy breakfast because you don’t have to worry about picking out an outfit to wear. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I can say that there were many occasions where I skipped breakfast simply because I was running late and picking out clothes seemed to be the bigger picture at that time.
I know when I was in high school, some girls came to school late or didn’t come at all because they couldn’t find an outfit they wanted to wear. Ridiculous? I think so. “What did the wearing of school uniforms accomplish? It directly interfered with gangs, gang colors, gang associations, gang affiliations that tended to have more control over the students than either teachers or parents . . . School uniforms did away with such extra curricular activities as thievery. It is not uncommon for the police to receive calls from irate parents regarding their child’s loss of an expensive clothing article.
School uniformity focuses the attention on where it belongs: academics. ” You can find the important point that uniforms create less of a boundary to cross when it comes to what kids wear to school on the Holden Police Department web page. There are fewer rules at a school with uniforms simply because the section labeled “Dress Code” is either nonexistent or simply a brief section on how to wear your uniform properly. Gangs are brought into schools by the gang’s members wearing their “colors” or their logos on their clothing.
This brings together two worlds that just should never meet. Although I don’t hear much about it these days, uniforms would give kids fewer things to want to steal in high school. Whether it be in the locker room or in lost-and-found, kids would be more honest, because who really wants to steal someone else’s uniform? There would also be less shoplifting because kids would have enough money to buy the few outfits they need to wear outside of school. Sex-exploitation is another issue that would be eliminated with uniforms.
Girls would not be allowed to wear such skimpy outfits to school, distracting less people, and creating better reputations for everyone. Less time would be spent in the school’s main office and more time would be put into being in the classroom. Kids would have fewer ways to get detentions or even expulsion because inappropriate clothing would no longer exist. Forcing kids to find other ways to show their individuality would compel kids to think more about whom they are and not so much about what they wear.
Although it may look as if it’s the “cool thing” to wear all the latest styles and be up on fashion, does it really seem worth it to risk getting simply an “ok” education? Where are those priorities of school work and studying for a test when you are out shopping at the mall? In the end it really does make the most sense to simply suck up the idea of wearing the same thing as every other girl or boy at your school and leave with a better education, and a better sense of seeing people for what and who they really are; not what they are or aren’t wearing.
Imagining the idea of a school that one does not have to worry about what kids will say about their outfits, about whether or not what they are wearing is appropriate for school grounds or getting to the mall after school to buy that new sweater they saw in the A&F catalogue (which means blowing off that tutoring secession they had to help raise their math grade), seems so far from reality and all that I knew in high school, yet at the same time seems like the ideal way to spend those four important years of high school, those four years in which all of your hard work pays off and gets you accepted into the number one college of your choice.
That sounds like the perfect four years of high school to me.