Against school uniforms essay – The Friary School - BepalInfo

Against school uniforms essay – The Friary School


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School Uniforms: Pros and Cons
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School Uniforms: Information and Resources for
Research Papers, Reports, Essays, and Speeches

 

Historically, the concept of school uniforms is familiar to many European schools and private schools within the United States. However, much more attention to the controversy over school uniforms arose when a significant movement began in the 1980’s to introduce dress codes within public schools in the United States.

We looked at A LOT of literature about the pros and cons, for and against, school uniforms and heard a lot of opinions. Both sides of this issue have valid arguments.

We have to admit that it is hard NOT to see a few general overall concepts when thinking about the pros and cons of school uniforms. Some concepts have a tendency to stand out. Before we get into the arguments for and against the implementation of school uniforms, we will list some general, overall main concepts that keep appearing throughout much of the literature written about school uniforms.

  • There is quite a bit of concern (mention) of gangs. There appears to be a significant amount of gang activity affecting many, many schools, especially urban schools. A number of articles and comments stress how important school uniforms are in addressing gang issues and safety in schools.
  • A main overall concept FOR school uniforms is the idea that school uniforms promote a safe, fearless, less violent, conflict-free, focused, learning environment. However, some schools implement school uniforms for very specific reasons. For example, some schools, especially urban schools, implement school uniforms to help identify gang members and intruders. Some schools create dress codes to help prevent conflict between some students because of jealousy over designer clothes. Some schools do not have an alarming degree of violence to contend with, but see school uniforms as a device to encourage a more team-oriented, academically-inclined, and focused learning environment to help their students achieve.
  • A related concept to the safe learning environment is that this safe learning environment helps students achieve. The idea is that students can concentrate on studying and learning rather than thinking about competing for purchasing designer’s clothes or fear violence in some form. Therefore, the students achieve better grades because the school uniforms were instrumental in maintaining a safe learning environment with fewer distractions.
  • There is a lot of anecdotal evidence/information that school uniforms provide a better environment for learning. For example, it makes sense that school uniforms make it easy to identify intruders or gang members who should not be on the school grounds unless they are students. It makes sense that there would be less competition for wearing designer clothes IF all students wear the same school uniform. The key word is "anecdotal."
  • Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, there are only a few scholarly studies and statistics providing data about how effective school uniforms are, ESPECIALLY when it comes to ACHIEVEMENT. What is fascinating about the few studies is that both sides of this issue will use the same studies to prove their arguments OR they will dispute the accuracy of each other’s research studies. It is kind of funny (kind of). You look for experts to provide the research necessary to determine if school uniforms affect achievement, and the experts argue about each other’s results.

After looking at A LOT of literature on both sides of the school uniform controversy, it seems like each side has valuable arguments. Like so many argumentative issues, it is questionable if there really is a "right" answer to this controversy. It seems like if there is a winning answer, it would be that whether a school should adopt a dress code or not, depends on the specific circumstances that is faced at each individual, specific school. Each school, student body, staff, and community is different. Each school may have to decide if a dress code really is an answer to whatever issues that they face.

We believe that you will find enough support for whichever side of the school uniform debate that you are on. Following are some of the popular resources and arguments for and against implementing school uniforms/dress codes in schools. Both sides of the issue are presented on this very long web page. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE or click on one of the links in order to see both sides of the issue.

The Pro Side of School Uniforms | The Con Side of School Uniforms


The Pro Side of School Uniforms (Reasons FOR School Uniforms):

The overall, general concept for implementing school uniforms is to create a safe, academic environment for learning.

  • School uniforms are good for discipline. Students take school more seriously. Students will focus more on learning rather than clothing or fear of violence because of other issues.
  • Reduces jealousy and fighting over designer clothes.
  • Prevents members of gangs displaying offensive materials. Prevents gang members from identifying each other and then fighting each other in school.
  • School uniforms can be cheaper than regular, non-designer clothes. School uniforms last longer.
  • Helps with school spirit and values. Helps with self-image. There is a feeling of belonging.
  • Helps identify who belongs at the school and who doesn’t. School uniforms can help to quickly identify intruders.

 

A possible introduction with thesis statement for a "pro" paper on school uniforms might go something like this:

Historically, the concept of school uniforms is familiar to many European schools and private schools within the United States. However, much more attention to the importance of school uniforms arose when a significant movement began in the 1980’s to introduce dress codes within public schools in the United States. As more and more public schools implemented dress codes, more and more parents and students questioned the real value of school uniforms as a tool to curb violence in schools and promote achievement. Both sides of this controversy can present valid arguments for their respective views. However, school uniforms are a real solution to many of the issues that schools face. School uniforms help produce a safe academic learning environment which helps students achieve. School uniforms reduce competition among students for designer clothes; identifies intruders; reduces tension due to gang-related clothing; and creates a sense of team spirit and respect. (We placed the thesis statement in BOLD for instructional purpose only to give you an idea of a what a thesis statement looks like.The following sentence after the thesis statement "School uniforms reduce competition among students for designer clothes; identifies intruders; reduces tension due to gang-related clothing; and creates a sense of team spirit and respect" may not technically be part of the thesis statement but this type of sentence impresses the teachers. The sentence gives the reader/teacher an idea of the issues that you will write about in the BODY of your paper, or essay, to prove your thesis statement (argument.)

 

Here is a possible outline for the PRO paper FOR school uniforms:

I.      INTRODUCTION WITH THESIS STATEMENT

II.     HISTORY OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS

III.    LESS COMPETITION FOR DESIGNER CLOTHES

IV.    REDUCED CONFLICT OVER GANG-RELATED ISSUES

V.     RECOGNIZE INTRUDERS

VI.    SCHOOL UNIFORMS ARE CHEAPER THAN CASUAL CLOTHES AND LAST LONGER

VII.   CREATES A FEELING OF TEAMWORK, TEAM SPIRIT, AND RESPECT

VIII.  FOCUSED SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT TO HELP STUDENTS CONCENTRATRE ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

IX.    CONCLUSION


Following are some resources in books, magazines, journals, and websites that can help support the pro side of the school uniform debate.

LIST OF RESOURCES

All books and periodical articles are cited according to The MLA Handbook Eighth Edition, 2016 as a PRINTED source (source in print form). Some of the following sources can be found online for free, but if you use the online source, you will have to cite the source as an ONLINE source UNLESS your professor allows you to cite the online source as a PRINT source/citation. The final authority on how you cite something in your paper is YOUR TEACHER. Please remember to double-space citation and use "hanging indentation." We are VERY familiar that many teachers want recent "scholarly, credible" sources for supporting your research paper or speech, such as books and journal articles.. School uniforms is a tough topic for finding recent scholarly sources. We suspect that there is NOT a lot of research being done on this. As you can see by the following sources, conclusive evidence is hard to find on both sides of this debate. We list a combination of older information and some newer materials.

 

Books

There are not many books devoted to the pros and cons of school uniforms. Here are just a few that you can see if you local library owns. Most libraries have a free interlibrary loan service if your library do not have these books. If your library cannot obtain these books and you still need these books, then you may want to purchase the book new or used on Amazon.com .

Hamilton, Jill. Dress Codes in Schools. Greenhaven Press, 2008.

Cruz, Barbara C. School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue. Enslow Pub, 2001.

 

Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper articles

Bodine, Ann. "School Uniforms, Academic Achievement, and Uses of Research." Journal of Educational Research, vol. 97, no. 2, 2003,

       pp. 67-71.

This scholarly journal article takes a little explanation. The following few articles by Bodine and Brunsma are very good examples of the controversy over the statistics involving school uniforms. If you do the research on the topic of school uniforms, it is likely that you will read about a scholarly research study by David L. Brunsma and Kerry Ann Rockquemore. There are NOT many scholarly research studies on the subject relating school uniforms to school violence, school achievement, safe learning environment, or other common issues associated with school uniforms. However, the research study by Brunsma and Rockquemore is one of the more important and cited studies on this matter. Brunsma and Rockquemore’s study indicates that there is NO positive correlation between school uniforms and students’ achievement. In fact, some of the statistics from their study show some negative aspects to implementing a school uniform policy.

Ann Bodine’s article disputes (to put it mildly) the findings and methodology of Brunsma and Rockquemore’s research. Bodine argues that the statistics show that there IS a positive correlation between school uniforms and academic achievement. Bodine’s article is a "PRO" school uniform article. A REPLY to Bodine’s article by Brunsma is listed next:

PLEASE NOTE that Brunsma’s articles have a tendency to come and go from the Web. If your library does not have the articles, then you can try using Google to find the titles.

Brunsma, David L. and Kerry Ann Rockquemore. "Statistics, Sound Bites, and School Uniforms: A Reply to Bodine."

       Journal of Educational Research, vol. 97, no. 2, 2003, pp. 72-77.

This article is a reply to the Ann Bodine’s article. Brunsma and Rockquemore stand by their study and continue to say that the statistics show that school uniforms "will not increase academic achievement." This specific article is a "CON" article on school uniforms.

 

Brunsma, David L. "School Uniform Policies in Public Schools." Principle, vol. 85, no. 3, 2003, pp. 50-3.

In this January/February 2006 article, David Brunsma continues to write about research that indicates that school uniforms do not do what they are suppose to do. Brunsma gives information on why he thinks schools adopt school uniform policies. This is a "CON" article giving explanation on how ineffective school uniforms are.

 

Brunsma, David L., and Kerry Ann Rockquemore. "Effects of Student Uniforms on Attendance, Behavior Problems,

       Substance Abuse, and Academic Achievement." Journal of Educational Research, vol. 92, no.1, 1998, pp. 53-62.

This is the original scholarly journal article where Brunsma and Rockquemore explains their findings that school uniforms do not have quite the positive effects on academic achievement that many people think. This is a "CON" article. This is the research study that Ann Bodine disputed in her article listed above. This "CON" article by Brunsma and Rockquemore can be found on the Internet at:

http://www.members.tripod.com/rockqu/uniform.htm

 

Boutelle, Marsha. "Uniforms: Are They a Good Fit?" The Education Digest, February 2008, pp.34-7.

The author covers a number of pro issues for school uniforms such as promoting school safety, reducing gang-related issues, reducing tension between the haves and have-not students. There are a number of really good quotes from school officials for a number of issues involving school uniforms. Overall, this is a very good "PRO" school uniform article.

 

Firmin, Michael, Suzanne Smith,and Lynsey Perry. "School Uniforms: A Qualitative Analysis of Aims and

      Accomplishments at Two Christian Schools." Journal of Research on Christian Education, vol. 15, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 143-68.

This is a GREAT pro and con research study that can be found in the Spring/Fall 2006 issue of the scholarly Journal of Research on Christian Education. Administrators, faculty, staff, students, and parents give their views on school uniforms within two private schools. The results are very interesting in that the students differ on some main issues of school uniforms than what parents and school officials believe. For example, the parents and school officials believe that school uniforms eliminate competition, but several students felt this way:

"I never felt like I experienced peer pressure in the first place. So, uniforms haven’t really changed that either."

"The cliques, the popular people, have like American Eagle stuff and wear tighter stuff and things like that."

This journal article offers plenty of PRO and con quotes/perspectives to support both sides of the school uniform debate. There are over 20 pages of good information within this article.

 

Gentile, Elisabetta, Scott A. Imberman, and National Bureau of Economic Research. "Dressed for Success?

 The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior. NBER Working Paper No. 17337."
 
National Bureau of Economic Research (2011): ERIC. www.nber.org/papers/w17337. Accessed 25 Nov. 2015.

"These corrections are very important as evidenced by the fact that while most prior work has found uniforms to have insignificant to negative impacts, we find that uniforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades 6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels. In terms of discipline we also find little evidence of uniform effects. This article can be found online for free at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17337

 

 

Johnston, Howard, and Inc. (EPA) Education Partnerships. "Student Dress Code and Uniforms

 Research Brief." Education Partnerships, Inc., 2009, ERIC. files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED537953.pdf. Accessed 25 Sept. 2016.

This is NOT a research study, but this article gives a very good summary of the pros and cons of the issues with school uniforms / dress codes. Here is an excerpt from this article:
“No large scale studies have demonstrated a conclusive link between school dress codes or school uniforms and student achievement. However, several small scale studies and anecdotal report from principals, teachers and students indicate that the imposition of dress codes – including uniforms – is related to higher morale, reduced disciplinary referrals, improved school safety and a “learning-focused” school climate.”Advice is given on how to create and implement a dress code.
This article can be found free online at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED537953.pdf

 

King, Keith A. "Should School Uniforms Be Mandated in Elementary Schools?" The Journal of School Health, vol. 68, no. 1, 1998, pp. 32-7.

This January 1998 journal article is a little old, but gives a lot of very good pro and con information about school uniforms. Part of the article covers "The Case For Uniforms" and part of the article covers "The Case Against Uniforms." The article helps support both sides of the controversy. Keith writes about gang violence, a safe and disciplined learning environment, and Long Beach Unified School District as well as more examples. "The Case Against Uniforms" is a very good "case." For example, "While Long Beach Unified School District claims that mandatory school uniforms resulted in decreased school crime and violence, other steps to improve student behavior – such as more teachers patrolling hallways during class changes – were implemented at the same time as the school uniform policy." Keith gives some other very good insights in the case against school uniforms that can help support the "CON" side of this controversy. I have to say again that this IS A VERY GOOD article on this subject.

 

McCarthy, Martha. "Dressing Down." Principal Leadership, vol. 6, no. 4, 2005, pp. 49-53.

One of the major issues that the "CON" group argues against is that school uniforms is a violation of First Amendment rights such as freedom of expression. This 2005 article does a very good job explaining the legal issues of school uniforms. Both sides have won in the courts over this issue. Overall, it appears that the judicial system allows schools to be restrictive when it comes to freedom of expression for the sake of creating a safe and productive learning environment. Basically, what takes place WITHIN the school is one thing and what takes place OUTSIDE the school is quite another matter.

 

McCarthy, Martha. "Restrictions of Student Attire: Dress Codes and Uniforms." Educational Horizons, vol. 79, no. 4, 2001, pp.155-157.

This is another good article by McCarthy giving examples of how the courts have treated school uniforms.

 

 

McDaniel, Thomas R.I. "Making the School Uniform Decision: Is It Right for Your School?"

 Kappa Delta Pi Record, vol. 49, no. 4, 2013, pp.162-167.

“The article focuses on the debate on whether students in the U.S. should be required to wear school uniforms. School administrators believe that wearing uniforms will improve school climate, promote social responsibility and improve academic performance. Some people also think that wearing school uniform can be a deterrent to school violence. However, students have the First Amendment right to expression. There have been several legal cases involving requiring students to wear uniforms.”.

 

Sanchez, Jafeth E., Andrew Yoxsimer, and George C. Hill. "Uniforms in the Middle School: Student Opinions,

  Discipline Data, and School Police Data." Journal of School Violence, vol. 11, no. 4, 2012, pp. 345-356.

"This study investigated public middle school students’ opinions on the benefits of wearing a school uniform. A review of related literature is provided along with results of the opinions obtained from 604 seventh- and eighth-grade middle school students attending a public school in Nevada that had recently initiated a school uniform policy. Improvements in discipline data and school police data were also examined. Results highlighted the perceived benefits (i.e., decreases in discipline, gang involvement, and bullying and increases in safety, ease of going to school, confidence, and self-esteem) of wearing a uniform to school, as reported by students through a survey instrument. The results focus on gender, grade level, and racial/ethnic differences in students’ responses. Few significant differences were found. One benefit was found between genders, six benefits between grade levels, and three benefits related to racial/ethnic groups."

 

 

Sowell, Russell Edward. "The Relationship of School Uniforms to Student Attendance, Achievement,

 and Discipline." ProQuest LLC (2012). ERIC, digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1532&context=doctora. 25 Nov. 2015.  

This is a doctoral dissertation that can be located for free on the Web at:
http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1532&context=doctoral

 "This causal-comparative study examined the relationship of school uniforms to attendance, academic achievement, and discipline referral rates, using data collected from two high schools in rural southwest Georgia county school systems, one with a uniforms program and one without a uniforms program. After accounting for race and students with disabilities status, School A (with uniforms) had significantly better attendance and somewhat fewer minor behavior infractions, but trended lower in standardized math scores and more intermediate and major behavioral infractions than School B (without uniforms). These findings failed to demonstrate an unambiguous advantage of school uniforms, consistent with the mixed results across reports in the published literature. Implications and suggestions for further research are detailed."

 

Walmsley, Angela. "What the United Kingdom Can Teach the United States about School Uniforms."

       Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 92, no. 6, 2011, pp. 63-6.

In this March 2011 journal article, Angela gives her perspectives about school uniforms from her British experience with school uniforms. Angela believes that school uniforms can "create a more respectful atmosphere for learning and ease the burden on parents." Angela mentions the cost of uniforms, uniforms and high-poverty schools, and ideas to help students adjust to the implementation of school uniforms. The author touches on the fact that school uniforms may not be a solution for all schools. She touches on a subject that is not seen in a lot of the literature, but is something to consider when she writes that we have to be careful about "creating a culture where parents think that a public school where children wear uniforms is an unsafe place to send their child." After all, some schools only implement a school uniform policy to help cut down on violence within the school while other schools implement dress code policies because they truly believe that school uniforms help students achieve success.

 

Weiss, Jennifer. “Do Clothes Make the Student?” New York Times. New York Times. 16 Sept. 2006.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/17Runiforms.html?fta=y&_r=. Accessed 20 Nov. 2016.


This newspaper artricle provides a very good summary of the pros and cons. This newspaper article is located at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/17Runiforms.html?fta=y&_r=0

 

West, Charles K., Diane K. Tidwell, Anne K. Bomba, and Patsy A. Emore. "Attitudes Of Parents about

       School Uniforms." Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, vol. 91, no. 2, 1999, pp. 92-96.

This is a journal article with some statistics. Although the main focus of this scholarly journal article covers the attitudes of parents on school uniforms, this article does provide information on some of the common issues involving school uniforms. The majority of views by the parents are positive for school uniforms.

 

Wingert, Pat. "Uniforms Rule." Newsweek, 4 Oct. 1999, pp. 72+.

This is an older magazine article, but it does have some nice pro and con tidbits of information that can help support each side. School uniforms can "eliminate the baggy gang-inspired look that makes it easy for students to smuggle in weapons, drugs and other banned items." A study is mentioned that states that students in uniforms "felt more like a team." However, Wingert writes about some cons of school uniforms such as the fact that some research shows that school uniforms do not improve student’s behavior or grades. Another interesting issue with school uniforms is that some teachers believe that by allowing students to dress the way they want "gives teachers insights into what’s happening with individual students. If we see a big change in the way a student dresses, that sends up a signal and tells us we need to address the person."

 

Zirkel, Perry A. “School Uniforms.” Principal, vol. 94, no.1, 2014, pp. 54-55.

“The article discusses the issue of implementing policies mandating school uniforms by school districts in the U.S. with particular focus on the federal case Frudden v. Pilling, in which the plaintiff Mary Frudden, a mother of third-grade and fifth-grade children, alleged that the mandatory school uniform policy instituted by the Roy Comm Elementary School in Reno, Nevada violated the children’s First Amendment freedom of expression. Several questions related to this case are also discussed.”

“The courts generally leave school uniform policymaking considerations to local school boards and their administrators. In making such decisions, the usual professional procedures apply, such as (a.) examining the experience of other comparable districts; (b.) surveying the parents and other constituents; (c.) having a balanced committee make recommendations to the school board or school leadership; and (d.) holding a public meeting before reaching a final decision.”

“Similarly, if the decision is in favor of adopting mandatory school uniforms, practical administrative wisdom suggests the need to provide ample time and well-planned procedures for implementation. As a legal matter, the key is keeping the policy reasonably clear and content-neutral, with special cautions regarding any written or particular messages on the required uniform, and the wording and application of any exemptions or exceptions.”


Psychological / Child Development Argument

Another strategy to argue FOR school uniforms is to argue the psychological / child development argument. Individual and social child development includes the idea of self-concept and self-esteem. During middle childhood, children start evaluating themselves in comparison to others. There are studies that show that children who are not accepted or rejected by their fellow students are at high risk of dropping out of school, engaging in delinquent behavior and have emotional and psychological  problems. The following studies / journal articles suggest this issue. It could be argued that school uniforms can reduce the stress between the haves and the have nots. School uniforms and dress codes may allow a more friendly environment with peer cooperation.

 

Boivin, Michel, and Guy Begin. "Peer Status and Self Perception among Early Elementary School Children:

 The Case of the Rejected Children." Child Development, vol. 60, no. 3 , 1989, pp. 591-596.

 

Ladd, Gary W., and Wendy Troop-Gordon. "The Role of Chronic Peer Difficulties in the Development of

 Children’s Psychological Adjustment Problems." Child Development, vol. 74, no..5, 2003, pp. 1344-67.

 

The Con Side of School Uniforms (Reasons AGAINST School Uniforms):

A general, overall picture of many of the arguments against school uniforms involve the concept that school uniforms is just a quick fix or band-aid attempt to solve real issues that cannot be solved by JUST establishing a school uniform/dress code policy.

  • There is quite a bit of concern over gangs. The pro argument for school uniforms is that school uniforms will avoid gang colors or affiliations. However, school uniforms are about aesthetics. School uniforms will not change the mentality or gang-related behavior of the gang members that attend school.
  • A common argument for school uniforms is that they reduce the chance of the "have not" students becoming jealous over designer clothes that other more financially well-off students can afford to purchase. However, how far do school officials need to go to reduce the tension between the haves and have-nots? Should jewelry, watches, and make-up be banned? How about expensive perfume or body deodorant? Should cell-phones and laptops be banned from entering schools, after all, some of these devices are more expensive than others? Should there be restrictions on how much money a student can have on them inside the school to pay for lunch or snacks? Should there be restrictions on the type of vehicle that the student, who has a driver’s license, can drive to school? Is the implementation of school uniforms the REAL answer to conflict over designer clothing or is some type of educational/social instruction the better answer? Can schools actually try to teach students about proper behavior? How can society and schools teach people about diversity if school uniforms and some of the ideas behind the implementation of school uniform policies help hide diversity?
  • Lack of creativity, expression, and students losing their identity are common reasons against using school uniforms. Some feel that school uniforms promote self-esteem, but it is hard to see this argument when students are forced to look alike. Psychologically-speaking, the adolescent years are a time for youth to express themselves and create their own identity.
  • There are practically no scholarly research studies that show evidence that clothes has a relationship to learning/achievement. Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, there are only a few scholarly studies and statistics providing data about how effective school uniforms are or are not, ESPECIALLY when it comes to ACHIEVEMENT. What is fascinating about the few studies is that both sides of this issue will use the same studies to prove their arguments OR they will dispute the accuracy of each other’s research studies. The one major study by Brunsma and Rockqemore is the main study that opponents of school uniforms can use to argue that school uniforms are not a significant factor in helping students learn and achieve.
  • Some proponents of school uniforms feel that school uniforms present a more conducive environment for learning. However, there are many children that are living with more serious circumstances that prevent them from learning than just being worried about what other students are wearing. Let’s face it, a lot of students have to be concerned about where their breakfast or next meal will come from. Some students live with some type of abuse or neglect. Some students need more teaching/tutoring than what overcrowded and under funded schools can provide. Jealousy over designer clothes for many, many students is not the biggest obstacle to learning or preventing violence.
  • School uniforms are not cheap. Some school districts have attempted to provide free school uniforms based on donations. However, in these very difficult economic times, there are not many associations that can afford to provide school uniforms for free. It is important to remember that students need more than just one school uniform to get them through the school week. One argument is that school uniforms are cheaper than "regular" clothes. However, for many parents, that is hard to believe. It is hard to believe that school uniforms are cheaper than basic, regular clothes that can be found at Wal-Mart, Goodwill, or some other general store.

 

A possible introduction with thesis statement for a "con" paper on school uniforms might go something like this:

Historically, the concept of school uniforms is familiar to many European schools and private schools within the United States. However, much more attention to the importance of school uniforms arose when a significant movement began in the 1980’s to introduce dress codes within public schools in the United States. As more and more public schools implemented dress codes, more and more parents and students questioned the real value of school uniforms as a tool to curb violence in schools and promote achievement. Both sides of this controversy can present valid arguments for their respective views. However, school uniforms are not the solution to many of the issues that schools face. A school uniform policy does not have a significant influence on producing a safe learning environment and helping students achieve. The haves and the have-nots will not be fooled by school uniforms; creativity and self-image suffers; gang members will continue to display gang-like behavior; uniforms are not cheap; and studies show that school uniforms are not a direct connection to achievement. (We placed the thesis statement in BOLD for instructional purpose only to give you an idea of a what a thesis statement looks like.The following sentence after the thesis statement: "The haves and the have-nots will not be fooled by school uniforms; creativity and self-image suffers; gang members will continue to display gang-like behavior; uniforms are not cheap; and studies show that school uniforms are not a direct connection to achievement" may not technically be part of the thesis statement but this type of sentence impresses the teachers. The sentence gives the reader/teacher an idea of the issues that you will write about in the BODY of your paper, or essay, to prove your thesis statement (argument.)

Here is a possible outline for the CON paper about school uniforms:

I.
INTRODUCTION WITH THESIS STATEMENT
II.
HISTORY OF SCHOOL UNIFORMS
III.THE HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS
IV.TEAMWORK, TEAM SPIRIT, AND RESPECT
V. SAFE AND FOCUSED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
A.
Gangs
VI.SCHOOL UNIFORMS ARE NOT CHEAP
VII. ACHIEVEMENT AND SCIENTIFIC STUDIES
VIII.CONCLUSION

 


Following are some resources in books, magazines, journals, and websites that can help support the pro side of the school uniform debate.

LIST OF RESOURCES

All books and periodical articles are cited according to The MLA Handbook Eighth Edition, 2016 as a PRINTED source (source in print form). Some of the following sources can be found online for free, but if you use the online source, you will have to cite the source as an ONLINE source UNLESS your professor allows you to cite the online source as a PRINT source/citation. The final authority on how you cite something in your paper is YOUR TEACHER. Please remember to double-space citation and use "hanging indentation." We are VERY familiar that many teachers want recent "scholarly, credible" sources for supporting your research paper or speech, such as books and journal articles.. School uniforms is a tough topic for finding recent scholarly sources. We suspect that there is NOT a lot of research being done on this. As you can see by the following sources, conclusive evidence is hard to find on both sides of this debate. We list a combination of older information and some newer materials.

Books:

There are not many books devoted to the pros and cons of school uniforms. Here are just a few that you can see if you local library owns. Most libraries have a free interlibrary loan service if your library do not have these books. If your library cannot obtain these books and you still need these books, then you may want to purchase the book new or used on Amazon.com .

Hamilton, Jill. Dress Codes in Schools. Greenhaven Press, 2008.

Cruz, Barbara C. School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue. Enslow Pub, 2001.

 

Journal, Magazine, and Newspaper articles

PLEASE NOTE that Brunsma’s articles have a tendency to come and go from the Web. If your library does not have the articles, then you can try using Google to find the titles.

Brunsma, David L., and Kerry Ann Rockquemore. "Effects of Student Uniforms on Attendance, Behavior Problems,

       Substance Abuse, and Academic Achievement." Journal of Educational Research, vol. 92, no.1, 1998, pp. 53-62.

This is the original scholarly journal article where Brunsma and Rockquemore explains their findings that school uniforms do not have quite the positive effects on academic achievement that many people think. Brunsma and Rockquemore’s study indicates that there is NO positive correlation between school uniforms and students’ achievement. In fact, some of the statistics from their study show some negative aspects to implementing a school uniform policy. This is a major and significant CON research study. This article can be found on the Internet at:

http://www.members.tripod.com/rockqu/uniform.htm

 

Brunsma, David L. "School Uniform Policies in Public Schools." Principle, vol. 85, no. 3, 2003, pp. 50-3.

In this January/February 2006 article, David Brunsma continues to write about research that indicates that school uniforms do not do what they are suppose to do. Brunsma gives information on why he thinks schools adopt school uniform policies. This is a "CON" article giving explanation on how ineffective school uniforms are.

 

Firmin, Michael, Suzanne Smith, and Lynsey Perry. "School Uniforms: A Qualitative Analysis of Aims and Accomplishments

     at Two Christian Schools." Journal of Research on Christian Education, vol. 15, no.1/2, 2006, pp. 143-68.

This is a GREAT pro AND con research study that can be found in the Spring/Fall 2006 issue of the scholarly Journal of Research on Christian Education. Administrators, faculty, staff, students, and parents give their views on school uniforms within two private schools. The results are very interesting in that the students differ on some main issues of school uniforms than what parents and school officials believe. For example, parents and school officials believe that school uniforms eliminate competition, but several students felt this way:

"I never felt like I experienced peer pressure in the first place. So, uniforms haven’t really changed that either."

"The cliques, the popular people, have like American Eagle stuff and wear tighter stuff and things like that."

This journal article offers plenty of pro and con quotes/perspectives to support both sides of the school uniform debate. There are over 20 pages of good information within this article.

 

Gentile, Elisabetta, Scott A. Imberman, and National Bureau of Economic Research. "Dressed for Success?

 The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior. NBER Working Paper No. 17337."
 
National Bureau of Economic Research (2011): ERIC. www.nber.org/papers/w17337. Accessed 25 Nov. 2015.

"These corrections are very important as evidenced by the fact that while most prior work has found uniforms to have insignificant to negative impacts, we find that uniforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades 6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels. On the other hand, we find little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement, grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all genders and grade levels. In terms of discipline we also find little evidence of uniform effects. This article can be found online for free at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17337

 

King, Keith A. "Should School Uniforms Be Mandated in Elementary Schools?" The Journal of School Health, vol. 68, no.1, 1998, pp. 32-7.

This January 1998 journal article is a little old, but gives a lot of very good pro AND con information about school uniforms. Part of the article covers "The Case for Uniforms" and part of the article covers "The Case Against Uniforms." This is a very good article that helps support both sides of the controversy. Keith writes about gang violence, a safe and disciplined learning environment, and Long Beach Unified School District as well as more examples. "The Case Against Uniforms" is a very good "case." For example, "While Long Beach Unified School District claims that mandatory school uniforms resulted in decreased school crime and violence, other steps to improve student behavior – such as more teachers patrolling hallways during class changes – were implemented at the same time as the school uniform policy." Keith gives some other very good insights in the case against school uniforms that can help support the "CON" side of this controversy.

 

McCarthy, Martha. "Dressing Down." Principal Leadership, vol. 6, no.4, 2005, pp. 49-53.

This 2005 article does a very good job of explaining the legal issues of school uniforms. Both sides have won in the courts over this issue and McCarthy gives examples. Overall, it appears that the judicial system allows schools to be restrictive when it comes to freedom of expression for the sake of creating a safe and productive learning environment. Basically, what takes place WITHIN the school is one thing and what takes place OUTSIDE the school is quite another matter. HOWEVER, there are exceptions.

 

McCarthy, Martha. "Restrictions on Student Attire. Dress Codes and Uniforms." Educational Horizons, vol. 79, no.4, 2001, pp. 155-157.

This is another good article by McCarthy giving examples of how the courts have treated school uniforms.

 

McDaniel, Thomas R.I. "Making the School Uniform Decision: Is It Right for Your School?"

 Kappa Delta Pi Record, vol. 49, no. 4, 2013, pp. 162-167.

“The article focuses on the debate on whether students in the U.S. should be required to wear school uniforms. School administrators believe that wearing uniforms will improve school climate, promote social responsibility and improve academic performance. Some people also think that wearing school uniform can be a deterrent to school violence. However, students have the First Amendment right to expression. There have been several legal cases involving requiring students to wear uniforms.”.

 

Messitt, Maggie. "Buttoned Down: Are School Uniform Policies a Perfect Fit for All Students?"

 Teaching Tolerance, vol. 52, no. 43, 2013, pp.56-57. www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-43-spring-2013/buttoned-dow.

This article can be found online for free at: http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-43-spring-2013/buttoned-down . It is a magazine article.

“Advocates of school uniforms will tell you that they keep students out of trouble, both in the classroom and off campus—but there is little proof, other than anecdotal evidence, that uniforms positively alter student behavior. In fact, studies illustrate the opposite.  A 2009 University of Houston study based on more than 10 years of data from a large urban district found an increase in disciplinary infractions within uniform schools, specifically for boys.”

 

 

Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Research Services."Preventing Violence in Schools.

 Information Capsule. Volume 0906."  Research Service, Miami- Dade County Public Schools (2009),
 
ERIC.
files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544705.pdf. Accessed 20 Nov. 2016.

This report provides information on the causes and incidence of youth violence and summarizes violence prevention strategies used in schools across the country. Particular attention is devoted to the use of metal detectors in schools. Plenty of solutions are given to prevent violence in schools. The same arguments may be used to argue against school uniforms as a prevention of violence strategy.   This article can be found at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544705.pdf

 

 

Sowell, Russell Edward. "The Relationship of School Uniforms to Student Attendance, Achievement,

 and Discipline." ProQuest LLC (2012). ERIC. digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1532&context=doctoral. 
  Accessed 20 Nov. 2015.

This is a doctoral dissertation that can be located for free on the Web at:
http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1532&context=doctoral

 "This causal-comparative study examined the relationship of school uniforms to attendance, academic achievement, and discipline referral rates, using data collected from two high schools in rural southwest Georgia county school systems, one with a uniforms program and one without a uniforms program. After accounting for race and students with disabilities status, School A (with uniforms) had significantly better attendance and somewhat fewer minor behavior infractions, but trended lower in standardized math scores and more intermediate and major behavioral infractions than School B (without uniforms). These findings failed to demonstrate an unambiguous advantage of school uniforms, consistent with the mixed results across reports in the published literature. Implications and suggestions for further research are detailed."

 

Weiss, Jennifer. “Do Clothes Make the Student?” New York Times. New York Times. 16 Sept. 2006,

 www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/17Runiforms.html?fta=y&_r=0.
  Accessed 20 Nov. 2015.


This newspaper artricle provides a very good summary of the pros and cons. This newspaper article is located at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/17Runiforms.html?fta=y&_r=0

 

Walmsley, Angela. "What the United Kingdom Can Teach the United States about School Uniforms."

       Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 92, no. 6, 2011, pp. 63-6.

In this March 2011 journal article, Angela gives her perspectives about school uniforms from her British experience with school uniforms. Angela believes that school uniforms can "create a more respectful atmosphere for learning and ease the burden on parents." Angela mentions the cost of uniforms, uniforms and high-poverty schools, and ideas to help students adjust to the implementation of school uniforms. The author touches on the fact that school uniforms may not be a solution for all schools. She touches on a subject that is not seen in a lot of the literature, but is something to consider when she writes that we have to be careful about "creating a culture where parents think that a public school where children wear uniforms is an unsafe place to send their child." After all, some schools only implement a school uniform policy to help cut down on violence within the school while other schools implement dress code policies because they truly believe that school uniforms help students achieve success. You can get some very good ideas from this article to help support the CON view.

 

Wingert, Pat. "Uniforms Rule." Newsweek, 4 Oct. 1999, pp. 72+.

This is an older magazine article, but it does have some nice pro and con tidbits of information that can help support each side. School uniforms can "eliminate the baggy gang-inspired look that makes it easy for students to smuggle in weapons, drugs and other banned items." A study is mentioned that states that students in uniforms "felt more like a team." However, Wingert writes about some cons of school uniforms such as the fact that some research shows that school uniforms do not improve student’s behavior or grades. Another interesting issue with school uniforms is that some teachers believe that by allowing students to dress the way they want "gives teachers insight into what’s happening with individual students. If we see a big change in the way a student dresses, that sends up a signal and tells us we need to address the person."


 

How to Cite this Web Page According to The MLA Handbook Eighth Edition, 2016

"School Uniforms: Pros and Cons Information and Resources." The College and Career Library. 

 

20 Nov. 2016. www.booksinformationandmore.com/schooluniforms.html. Date that you accessed the web page such as 27 Nov. 2016.

Double-space the lines. Use hanging indentation with the second line (if needed) and is indented about 7 or 10 spaces.  The title of the web page is "School Uniforms: Pros and Cons Information and Resources".  There is no official author so place the title first and in quotes as seen above. The official website is called The College and Career Library and is placed in ITALICS.   6 August 2011 is when the web page was created, BUT it was UPDATED November 20, 2016. Type, or cut and paste the URL. After this, provide the date that you accessed the web page, such as 27 Nov. 2016.

"School Uniforms: Pros and Cons Information and Resources." The College and Career Library. 

 

20 Nov. 2016. www.booksinformationandmore.com/schooluniforms.html. Accessed 27 Nov. 2016.


This web page was created August 6, 2011, BUT UPDATED November 20, 2016.

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Home List of Pros and Cons 13 Serious Advantages and Disadvantages of School Uniforms

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  • List of Pros and Cons

In many schools around the world, students are required to wear school uniforms. However, other educational institutions do not implement this rule as part of the decision reached by their boards and the parents. On your end, do you think if wearing school uniforms is good? This has become a subject of some arguments between proponents and critics. To come up with a well-informed idea about this, let us look at its advantages and disadvantages.

List of Advantages of School Uniforms

1. Uniformity.
One of the most obvious advantages of wearing school uniforms is the fact that all students would look the same. Those who do not have sufficient means to buy fashionable and expensive clothing can surely benefit from this, and parents can also save a bit of money from not having to buy trendy clothes for their children. Aside from these perks, school uniforms shows a form of unity at the school, wherein students wear the same outfits that give them a single identity that distinguishes them from other schools.

2. Less Stress from Choosing Wardrobe.
One aspect that many researchers agree upon is that introducing a school uniform policy can lower the stress among students who are struggling with choosing what to wear each day—some of them strive to look in a different way, while others worry about being judged. Though sometimes this problem goes unnoticed, implementing uniforms can effectively eliminate it.

3. Feeling of Pride.
By wearing a school uniform, a student may feel proud that he/she belongs to a certain school. Just doing this (especially if it is with a logo) will allow him/her to talk about his/her education with peers and even with other people.

4. Reduced Behavioral Issues.
Reports by K-12 experts and sociologists show that students in uniform are behaving more appropriately in their respective learning environments. Their findings came from the fact that uniforms dictate a stricter atmosphere that encourages students to follow school rules and regulations. Plus, it is also found that violence in uniform schools is lower than that of other schools.

5. Saved Time in Changing Clothes.
Wearing school uniform is very helpful for children to saving time when changing outfits, where it takes long for them to figure out the right mix of shirt and pants or blouse and skirt. But with uniforms, it will be quicker for them to dress up.

6. Saved Time and Money in the Shopping Sense.
People (particularly parents), who are in favor of school uniforms, argue that they save time and money when it comes to shopping for school clothing. According to a national survey of school leaders that was published on the National Association of Elementary School Principals website, the average costs of school uniforms just range up to USD150, so they are just economical.

7. No Competition.
Schoolchildren do not have to compete with their classmates, as everybody is wearing the same outfit. Take note that one common issue among high school and college students is the difficulty to fit in the school crowd because they are poorly gifted with expensive clothing that others have.

8. Improved Social Outcomes.
Research found that fashion and clothing often act as the root of social conflict in non-uniform schools. There is segregation among students based on what they wear: the goths, the jocks, the nerds and the emos. But in schools with uniforms, everyone is brought into a neutral zone, making social relationships easier.

List of Disadvantages of School Uniforms

1. Fashion Hindrance.
For fashionistas, wearing a school uniform will suppress their freedom and passion to express themselves—this clothing prevents them from wearing the clothes they want. Some students are also uncomfortable with uniforms, as they cannot just pick them up from their closets. Usually, they need to iron them to get rid of crumples, which will require more of their time just to prepare for the next day. Moreover, children often dislike school uniforms because they feel that these pieces of clothing are not as flattering as other garments, which can make them more conscious about their image.

2. Inability to Show Your Personality.
One huge disadvantage of school uniforms is that students will not be able to show their personality through clothing. Directly connected to the first mentioned disadvantage, children and teens cannot (or will have difficulties to) demonstrate their personal sense of style.

3. Intolerance of Culture.
It will be difficult for the concerned individuals to deciding on a school uniform design that would represent all participating cultures in the campus. Remember that specific groups of people would like to have their inputs in a school uniform policy considered, and the failure to count them in can lead to conflicts and even lawsuits. Another issue to tackle is whether LGBT students should be allowed to dress up according to their external or internal gender or their sexual orientations. Moreover, uniform policies might be seen as insensitive to low-income families, especially if the school is not able to provide a financial support system for such need.

4. Discomfort.
Like a classmate in an appropriate shirt who is sitting next to your child, a school uniform could prove as an academic distraction, especially when your child is dealing with things, such as garment rigidness, tightness and itchiness. Also, students do not feel right in their own skin when they are forcefully instructed to wear something they do not like.

5. Extra Expense and Effort.
If a student is attending school 6 days a week, he/she would need more sets of uniforms. And if he/she does not have enough money to buy them, he/she would need to wash his/her existing uniform every day to prepare for the next day.

What About The Aesthetics?

The aspect of aesthetics is ultimately subjective, so it can apply equally to both sides of this argument. While some students view wearing school uniforms to be advantageous in way that they look good in them, others might loathe the look entirely. Nonetheless, both these opinions are valid.

Bottom Line

All in all, wearing school uniform could be a requirement of your school that you should comply. However you detest doing it, it is imperative to follow your school’s policies and regulations.

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The Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

Did you go to a school that required uniforms? Do your kids wear school uniforms now? If you answered “yes” to either question, you probably have strong feelings about uniform requirements in schools. Even if you don’t have a personal connection to uniforms, you might be interested in the topic. If so, check out our guide to the pros and cons of school uniforms.

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Pro 1: They can break down class barriers between students. 

When students don’t wear school uniforms it can be easy to spot kids with the most – and least – economic privilege based on what they wear to school. One argument used in favor of school uniforms is that when kids wear uniforms visible class markers between rich kids and poor kids are decreased or eliminated, which may lead to more social mixing along economic lines.

Pro 2: They can increase student focus. 

Another argument that’s often raised in favor of uniforms is that they may increase student focus. The evidence for this seems to be thin, but many proponents of uniforms argue that when students don’t have clothing to notice, comment on or respond to, they can spend more mental energy on learning. Uniforms, this argument goes, add to a sense of disciplined learning in school.

Pro 3: They can increase the sense of community in a school.

Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

Uniforms may also build community in a school as students of all ages – and alumni, too – bond or commiserate over the outfits they all associate with their school days. When schools that have traditionally required uniforms toy with removing the uniform requirement, it’s often the alumni who speak out in favor of preserving the tradition of school uniforms.

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Pro 4: School uniforms can promote safety. 

In areas where students may be gang-involved, uniforms can increase safety by preventing students from wearing clothing that declares – intentionally or inadvertently – gang affiliation. Some proponents of school uniforms argue that uniforms can increase student safety in school and outside of school, as well as increasing students’ ability to blend in and focus on learning without having to worry that their clothing choices might make them a target.

Con 1: They can be expensive for parents. 

Keeping a child in school uniforms may be more expensive for parents and guardians than buying regular clothes would be. Often, uniforms are only available from a limited number of suppliers and the lack of competition (and captive market) keeps prices high. Or, a uniform will include pricier items like blazers and dress shoes, which some families might struggle to afford.

Con 2: Uniforms limit student self-expression.

Another argument made against uniforms is that they limit students’ self-expression. Teenagers in particular are famous for needing to express their emotions and their tastes in music, fashion and art through clothing, hair and piercings. School can be tough on kids and teens as it is, without taking away one of the few areas where they can exert some control and express themselves, say opponents of school uniforms.

Con 3: Uniforms may be sexist.

Some uniforms may strike students and parents as sexist. For example, if a uniform requires girls to wear skirts and pants are not allowed, some students and parents may object, leading to conflict with the school administration. Not all girls want to wear skirts and some may resent being told to wear traditionally “feminine” garments. Also, if a student is unsure of their place on the gender spectrum or is experimenting with different forms of gender presentation, school uniforms can present a real challenge.

Con 4: Uniforms lead to more policing of students.

Pros and Cons of School Uniforms

If a school has a uniform policy, it generally tries to enforce that policy by monitoring students’ clothing and punishing students for violating uniform requirements. Of course, even schools that don’t require uniforms may police student clothing that’s deemed too revealing or offensive, but uniforms may add to the attention focused on student dress. This can make students feel that they’re being scrutinized and punished for their appearance, which could have negative effects on student self-esteem or attitudes toward the school. And if students are sent home for uniform violations, they will miss valuable learning time. Plus, policing student uniforms takes time and effort on the part of administrators.

Bottom Line

If back-to-school shopping in your household involves shopping for a school uniform, you might be familiar with some of the arguments for and against uniforms. By some accounts, school uniforms are becoming more popular in the U.S., which means more households may find themselves debating the merits of uniforms in the years to come.

Update: If you have questions beyond school uniforms, SmartAsset can help. So many people reached out to us saying they wanted help with financial planning, that we built a  tool to match you with a financial advisor  who can meet your needs. First you answer a series of questions about your situation and your goals. Then the program narrows down thousands of advisors to three fiduciaries who meet your needs. You can read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while doing much of the hard work for you.

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