I remember during my high school teaching days heading up a “Quality Team” that investigated the potential of introducing school uniforms for students at the school where I taught. Had I shown more leadership I think it could have been taken farther, but I recollect that a surprising number of teachers were against the idea. Generally, the concern was that it would stifle the kids’ “creative expression” — although certain “creative expressions” were part of what we were hoping to stifle!
Another aspect of student life we were hoping to address was the extreme emphasis on clothing as a status symbol, and from what I just read in the Wall Street Journal, it doesn’t seem as though things have gotten much better. Posted here for your perusement pleasure:
- “Fashion Bullies Attack — In Middle School”, Wall Street Journal, 10/26/2007
Since we homeschool, I have no dog in that fight (sorry, Michael Vick!). But I do have an opinion (the equivalent, I suppose, to saying, “Yes, I’m a human.”)
On one hand, I think an “assembly line” mentality in the public schools — however unavoidable in general — is one of its most dangerous aspects, and I admit that the concept of school uniforms can feed into this. At the same time, if the goal is to educate kids during a time in their lives when almost everything turns into a source of distraction that works against that goal, I think school uniforms can make a positive difference.
You are, of course, free to differ.