Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: School uniforms make a difference

My child attends public school.  She is one of the public school children that is required to wear the general American public school uniform.  (Khaki or navy jumper or skorts, long or short sleeved polo shirts, tights when appropriate.)  I've very good with this. 

Last year, the Principal had built "spirit days" into the school calendar.  (Spirit days are uniform-free days.)  The school board requested that he not build them into the calendar, but to have them occasionally was fine.  The other day, I was there when a parent approached him to ask why we haven't had the spirit days like we had in the previous years. 

"When we have spirit days, there are a lot more behavioral problems." 

"Can we reward the kids with a dress down certificate?" 

"No.  If we would have certain kids with dress down certificates for a particular day and a student dresses out of uniform anyhow, parents don't always come to rectify the uniform problem.  Then, we have a student in street clothes that didn't deserve that perk and are rewarded for not following the rules." 

I did find it very interesting that behavioral issues increase on non-uniform days.  I know that K-'s school is 50% poverty level.  Having all of the kids in uniforms has all of them looking alike, so there is no distinguishing the poor kids from the rich ones.  I was a poor kid.  Kids definitely see that and kids are picked on for a lack of.  Sad, but true.

I have mentioned before that having uniforms cuts down on the clothes that we have for K-.  They also cut down on laundry.  Frankly, I don't have her change when she gets home because there is nothing she can do to that uniform that she doesn't/can't do at school.  I wash them up, iron and match everything up so that all I need to do is to pull a hanger out of the closet. 

I appreciate that we have cluster uniform swaps, too.  (The city is divided into several school clusters within the district.)  I love that we are helping each other out by trading out clothes that we no longer need for something that would benefit us.  We flip things to a friend's daughter, too.  K- is still wearing the uniform jumpers that she had from last year, which is a big money saver.  No one knows and no one cares that she is still wearing last years stuff.  If we weren't a uniform school, kids would notice. 

Are you pro-uniform?  How do you feel about uniforms in the public school? 

Smiles in my day:
-  My coworker insisting that I look just like Elinor Donahue.  Now, other than the fact that the dear is a white woman with dark hair, I just don't see it.  However, it tickled her to death and that is what counts.
-  K- scored a 40/40 on her vocabulary quiz.  She was thrilled!
-  Scoring over 71,000 on Pacman on Hubs' game system tonight.  He couldn't believe it and I stayed alive for the entire 5 minutes, which is quite a feat.  The little things, I know.
-  An awesome dinner that everyone (including Hubs!) could eat.  (Chicken and noodles.)
-  Remembering to file city taxes!  They weren't available online when I put state and federal in and I almost forgot!  Thankfully, Julia was talking about her taxes today! 

Have a great day!


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Even though we are private school, I'm all for uniforms whether it is public or private. It levels the playing field and the kids can concentrate on school work, not fashion. (just my opinion)

Alena said...

I'm 100% for school uniforms, and no "spirit" days or other excuses for kids to pit against each other over money. Kids can still accessorize via jewlery and accessories, within reason, and I honestly don't see why individuality would suffer. They can wear what they want after school and on the weekends. I wore a uniform for two years, and loved it - no I didn't always like wearing the same basic thing, but at least I was never EVER picked on for what I wore. I can't say the same during my other school years.

Bailey's Leaf said...

K- is able to wear hair things, necklaces and patterned tights. (We get the crazy ones.) They can also wear whatever color of shoes that they want. (Must be full shoes and not sandals/crocks/clogs.) They are able to kick in some individuality, but within reason. I'm all for it.

Rach said...

As both a public AND private school teacher who had uniforms at both schools, I LOVE them. I ADORE them. I can't believe more schools don't have them. They are BRILLIANT!

I ALWAYS dreaded dress-down/spirit days at the private school (never had 'em at the public school) because I *knew*, without fail, we were going to have an out-of-control crazy day.

Think about it this way, when you put on church clothes, you know a certain behavior is expected of you. When I put on my work clothes, I know there are different expectations than when I am wearing jeans or scrubby clothing.

The same holds true for kids and school uniforms. They put on that uniform with the mindset they are going to school and they are going to learn. On days they dress down, they are wearing after school/weekend clothes (AND, it's a special treat for a special day...) leading to crappy behavior. Period. Even the best behaved kid can be a bit squirrelly on a dress down day.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the clothing they would wear...the divide between rich and those on scholarship was quite evident sometimes. :sigh:

So, no, really, ask me how I *really* feel...;o) I just wish Lil's school had them. Oh well.