Issues of school safety, student performance and morale have reignited the debate over whether or not school uniforms, like those used for centuries in private schools, should be adopted for use in public schools. Controversy surrounds the question as to whether or not mandatory school uniforms in public schools exert a positive influence over academic performance, the reduction disciplinary enforcement, and positive allegiance to school communities, or whether or not such policies simply incite egregious behavior. “Few things in life are as clear as adolescents’ seemingly innate drive to assert their independent judgment of social affairs[…] they are prone to express a degree of doubt about the many potential futures they are bound–and often compelled–to endure.” (Hoge, Foster, Nickell, and Field)In addition to tis controversy, questions loom over the issues of Constitutional freedoms, cultural and ethnic biases, and rights of free-expression. “School dress codes and mandated school uniforms may seem like godsends to parents who are attempting to negotiate the treacherous shoals of adolescent culture and identity formation[…] such policies raise a multitude of issues and problems that call for[…] prudent school governance policies.” (Hoge, Foster, Nickell, and Field)OPPOSITION’S VIEWPOINTAdvocates of school uniform generally specific criteria upon which their favorable opinion of school uniforms is based. Though these criteria are seldom reinforced by objective data or demonstrable evidence, the argument for school uniforms appeals to an intuitive sense of order and control and represents the enforcement of a highly visible measure of action. This final point may be the most overlooked and potentially important aspect of school uniforms: that useSchool Uniforms: Yes or No? Page -2-of them demonstrates in a highly visible fashion the intention to restore order and continuity to the educational process and venues in question. Other supposed benefits of school uniforms adhere to an admirable set of desired school-conditions: “lowering student victimization, decreasing gang-activity and fights, differentiating strangers from students in school buildings, increasing a supporting and positive attitude toward learning, heightening school-pride and identity and conformity to organizational goals” (LaPointe, Holloman, (Brunsma, and Rockquemore)In addition to the hoped-for benefits of uniforms, proponents of school-uniforms in public schools generally cite specific, important criteria as to what constitutes a school-uniform: “clothing can be considered a uniform when it (al) serves as a group emblem, (b) certifies an institution’s legitimacy by revealing individuals’ relative positions, and (c) suppresses individuality.” The specificity in this distinction is intended to serve an administrative function of hierarchy identification and enforcement: “The presence of uniforms in schools automatically implies a two-tiered hierarchical structure–those who wear uniforms (subordinates) and those who do not wear uniforms (superiors). ” (Brunsma, and Rockquemore)PERSONAL POVAs mentioned, most, if not all of the above-mentioned assertions are unsupported by factual evidence, but are the result of prima facie determinations which have a superficial basis. The desire to outwardly control the physical dress of students and give the appearance of Schoolestablished order and conformity presents an interesting, and possibly damaging, distraction form the underlying factors of poverty, drug-abuse, crime, and social distress which give rise to so Uniforms: Yes or No? Page -3- much of the destructive behavior and low student performance in public schools.During a controlled experiment conducted with the Long Beach school district provided object research data by which the efficacy of school-uniforms in public schools might be measured. The results of the study indicated, rather than securing the hoped-for conditions and results that advocates of school-uniforms cited as their objective, the implementation of mandatory school-uniforms resulted in negative effects: “Hypothesis 1, which stated that student uniforms decrease absenteeism, was not supported by our results.” (Brunsma, and Rockquemore)Other desired results were also unobtained: “Hypothesis 2, which stated that student uniforms decrease behavior problems, was not supported by the analysis. Hypothesis 4, which reports that student uniforms will increase student achievement, was not supported by the data.”Startingly enough, the impact of school-uniforms seemed to be one of exacerbation of the existing problem issues: “All four of the original hypotheses[…] were not supported. Most striking were the significant negative effects of uniforms on achievement, an outcome of much concern to educators and policy makers.” (Brunsma, and Rockquemore)COMMON GROUNDThough the cited scientific evidence seems to contradict the use of school-uniforms in public schools, the use of school uniforms does demonstrate at least one verifiable good: “uniforms act as a catalyst for change and provide a highly visible opportunity for additional programs[…] Instituting a uniform policy can be viewed as analogous to cleaning and brightly painting a deteriorating building in that on the one hand it grabs our immediate attention.” (Brunsma, and Rockquemore) In this way, the issue of school uniforms as a debate is useful to give exposure to the more essential, more serious issues underlying public school dysfunction. The implementation of school-uniforms may be highly useful in garnering much needed attention and redressing of serious challenges facing the public schools.
School Uniforms Yes Or No Paper
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