School Uniform: Arguments For and Against

Introduction

All societies agree that schools are the best institutes for imparting knowledge to students. Policy makers, educators and parents therefore endeavor to ensure that there is a high rate of attendance to schools by the school-aged segment of the population. However, there is a disagreement on the manner of clothing for students as they go to school. While some argue that school uniforms should be used, others state that students should be given the freedom to wear regular clothes to school. Both sides have valid arguments to back their claims on the topic. My essay topic will be “should schools require students to wear uniforms”. In the paper, I will conduct a thorough investigation on the merits and demerits of having school uniforms.

Support for School Uniforms

The paper delves into an in-depth research into the relationship between school uniforms and academic achievement of students. I will make use of a number of peer-reviewed articles to argue that schools should require students to wear uniforms. Specifically, the research findings of Bodine in her study on the impact of school uniforms on student achievement will be used (67). The idea that uniforms affect test scores if very important since high academic outcomes is a desirable outcome by all the stakeholders in the educational sector. According to Bodine, there is a positive correlation between uniforms and achievements (67).

The paper will address the impact of school uniforms on material competition among students. Research by Firmin and Smith indicates that the motivation for a uniform policy at the Midwest and Midsouth schools was to eliminate competition among students and decrease non-academic distractions (165). Without school uniforms, students are likely to wear flash clothes in order to show off to their friends. This will act as a major distraction in the school.

The paper will also discuss the impact of school uniforms on the dressing code of students. Specifically, the impact of uniforms on appropriate dressing will be accessed. Firmin and Smith express the general ideal that school uniforms foster appropriate dressing by forcing students to be modest (157). The researchers suggest that this forced modesty might spill over into the public lives of the students.

A review of the monetary cost attached to buying school uniforms for the students will be made. Obviously, requirements for school uniforms force parents to invest in new clothes since their children cannot go to school in their regular clothes. A survey of the Midwest and Midsouth by Firmin and Smith reveals that implementing a uniform policy actually lowers the costs of child clothing expense for parents (154).

The paper will investigate the impact that school uniforms might have on teachers. Research by Huss on the influence that uniforms have on the academic climate will be used (31). The author suggests that uniforms enhance the learning environment and fostered better interaction between faculty and students (37). The teachers perceived an improved learning environment when students were required to wear uniform.

Arguments against School Uniforms

Brunsma and Rockquemore object to the idea that school uniforms have any relationship with the academic outcomes of students (72). The authors suggest that academic outcomes are determined by a myriad of other factors including school policies, teacher competence, and socio-economic status of the students. Brunsma and Rockquemore conclude by stating that policymakers should not count on school uniforms to deliver an academic miracle since this will not happen (76).

The paper will address the issues that the conformity required by school uniforms might bring up. Carney and Sinclair suggest that school uniforms might infringe on the religious practices of a student (138). This is a significant consideration since many religions have groups, which require modest dressing for women, or covering of some body part such as heads by men. If the students are obligated to wear uniforms, they may be unable to obey their religious commitments.

Uniforms try to make the students homogeneous since they are all forced to dress in a similar fashion. In my experience, school uniforms ignore the fact that students come from diverse backgrounds. These students have varied tastes and they would like to express themselves using what they wear. Being required to wear uniforms therefore reduces their ability to express themselves.

Discussion and Conclusion

In addition to the citations from authoritative sources on the subject, I will also engage in my own analysis of the issue. I will highlight the differences between uniformed students and non-uniformed students. Using the facts provided in the paper, I will make a stand on the issue. Considering the fact that most resources support school uniforms and offer valid arguments to support this, the paper will be in support of school uniforms.

The paper will conclude by restating the problem and underscoring the points made. It will provide a clear stand that school uniforms should be mandatory. I will make use of the arguments presented to support the conclusion arrived at. A call to action will then be made so that even more schools can benefit from the outcomes of the research effort.

Works Cited

Bodine, Anne. “School Uniforms, Academic Achievement, and Uses of Research”. Journal of Educational Research, 97.2 (2003): 67-71. Web. 05 Dec. 2012.

Brunsma, David and Rockquemore Kerry. “Statistics, Sound Bites, and School Uniforms: A Reply to Bodine”. Journal of Educational Research 97.2 (2003): 72-77. 2012. Web.

Carney, Damian and Sinclair Adele. “School uniform revisited: procedure, pressure and equality”. Education and the Law 18.2 (2006): 131-148. Web.

Firmin, Michael and Smith Suzanne. “School Uniforms: A Qualitative Analysis of Aims and Accomplishments at Two Christian Schools”. Journal of Research on Christian Education 15.2 (2006): 143-168. Web.

Huss, John. “The Role of School Uniforms in Creating an Academically Motivating Climate: do Uniforms Influence Teacher Expectations?”. Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research 1.1 (2007): 31-39. Print.