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Friday, February 18, 2011

What Do Y'all Think?

A hot topic around my little town right now is school uniforms in public, suburban elementary schools. I am not sure how I feel about it, as I've been weighing the pros and cons for two days now, and I keep coming up neutral. How do y'all feel about it? For or against? And why?

45 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

I was in a school uniform all the way to high school. Saves me the problem of having to decide what to wear on a day-to-day basis.

Z's kindy's uniform is a vest that they wear over regular street clothes. Not strictly implemented.

J's school has a strict uniform code. There are the rare days when they could go to school in 'regular' clothes. I like this arrangement. :)

Sherri said...

They're talking about it here in Alabama as well. I don't really care one way or the other. My best friend growing up went to Catholic school and had to wear uniforms, and it was no big deal to her. My 17 year old daughter, however, is frothing at the mouth at the prospect of having to wear a uniform. Which makes me tip to the side of supporting school uniforms. haha

Beach Mama said...

For the most part I am for it. As long as the uniform pieces are readily available at most stores and aren't something you would have to order. For instance, polo-type shirt with khaki shorts/pants/skorts, etc. Many of these items are available at Walmart, etc. and cost less than most clothese you would purchase for your child.

I think it also helps to make it easier to enforce a dress code. Kind of puts kids all on a level playing field in a fashion sense.

It would definitely make it easier to dress your child everyday and not argue over what they can/can't wear to school.

Laurie said...

I could go either way, really. I think there are good arguments for both sides. One day I might really wish my daughter wore a uniform, but for now, I sure LOVE picking out her clothes every day! :)

Foxxy One said...

As someone who was beat up on a regular basis because of the clothes I wore, I'm all for uniforms. While I know kid will find other reasons to pick on other kids - it does level the playing field for the kids who's families can't afford the latest and greatest in fashion.

Anonymous said...

Having spent 14 years of school (not in the US) wearing a uniform, I can't really see how anyone can disagree with them. Where I am from, it is unusual for a school not to have a uniform. It allows everyone to be equal in what they wear, saves time and arguments over picking out clothes everyday and is cheaper in the long run. I know kids like to express their individuality, but this can be done after school and on the weekends and holidays. I'm all for them.

lmgnyc said...

No thank you. Uniforms are so....um....uniform. :-)

lmgnyc said...

Hey, my smiley got chopped in half!

Dawn said...

Love! Them! When we lived in Nashville, our local public elementary school required the kids to wear a uniform. Guys: Polo or button down shirt (white, navy or hunter green) and Dockers-style pants (navy or khaki). Girls: Same shirts as guys. Same pants or a skirt that was a navy/hunter green/white plaid. We moved from there before we finished elementary school and WOW! was it hard to outfit my kids for school after being used to the uniforms. And, in the long run, regular clothing was much more expensive, too. Wearing the uniforms did not stifle anyone's creativity. Rather, it allowed them to focus it in areas of academics, sports, or the arts.

I'd recommend it.

Dawn said...

Love! Them! When we lived in Nashville, our local public elementary school required the kids to wear a uniform. Guys: Polo or button down shirt (white, navy or hunter green) and Dockers-style pants (navy or khaki). Girls: Same shirts as guys. Same pants or a skirt that was a navy/hunter green/white plaid. We moved from there before we finished elementary school and WOW! was it hard to outfit my kids for school after being used to the uniforms. And, in the long run, regular clothing was much more expensive, too. Wearing the uniforms did not stifle anyone's creativity. Rather, it allowed them to focus it in areas of academics, sports, or the arts.

I'd recommend it.

autumnesf said...

I know people that could not do it. They do all their shopping at thrift stores...and if you see the uniform pieces that end up in thrift stores, they are stained, with holes and generally not fit to be worn to school. Its so easy to have this debate when we can afford the uniforms. To those that can't, this would literally take food off the table. The child would have ONE uniform and wear it dirty all week in many cases. Why would we do that to people? At least with regular clothes you have a chance of finding decent clothing at the thrift stores. There just aren't enough hand me down uniforms to go around to those that can't afford them. And the schools can't afford to provide them. So no, I'm against. Its not the school job to spend my money. They already get my taxes.

Marla said...

Our schools have "standardized dress" and we love it. No arguing over what matches and what doesn't (or what is appropriate for school and what isn't), they know their choices and that's that.

Karrie said...

I battle daily with my 8 year old daughter on what to wear to school. This would put such peace in our morning routine.

Wishing we where in uniforms!!! :)

veggiemom said...

Love, love, love school uniforms!!! There is no argument about what to wear every day.

Nancy said...

They've been doing uniforms in public school for a long while in our neck of the woods, started about 20 years ago in our metro city in select areas (mostly inner city) and has now expanded to several schools in the burbs. I've been both a parent (of 6) and a teacher (grades 4-6) in public schools with uniforms.
1-It's not the big deal parents make it out to be. Really, all the talk and hype is over done.
2-There's a LOT of flexibility with public uniforms, at least there is here. Most schools give color and style guidelines (mostly navy/khaki bottoms and 2-3 polo shirt colors) and allow parents to purchase anywhere they want (Target/Old Navy/ Online/PTO...)
3-I does make things easier and far cheaper both for a parent and for teachers.
4-It doesn't instantly solve the status problems of getting you child dressed for schools. Kiddos will be kiddos and find ways to show their wealth/status with earring, purses, shoes, watches... 5-And even with uniforms, kiddos still find way to make it hard to get dressed in the morn, stressing over WHICH khaki pants to wear or what color collared polo...
6-As a parent, because of the money I save on clothing for my children, I like the fact that uniforms allow me the extra money to go buy my kiddos a special easter/birthday/holiday outfit with less guilt.
7-All that said, as both a parent and teacher, I like uniforms and find it easier.

Liz said...

My daughter isn't in puublic school yet but I have recently been looking into it for her for September. A lot of the public schools in our urban area have a uniform, or I guess more accurately a dress code - certain color shirt, khaki pants, that kind of thing. Interestingly, one of the arguments in favor of this policy that I was told is the exact opposite of autumnesf's comment - there is less pressure on kids from lower income families to keep up with their more advantaged classmates in terms of clothes when everyone has to dress the same way!

Gayla said...

LOVE uniforms! My kids go to public school, but have a uniform and it is FANTASTIC. Easy peasy mornings and no-brainer choices and no one feels "uncool" or left out of a trend- which is, I think, part of the point. LOVE them!!!!! I also disagree w/ autumfest. Our school's uniforms are MUCH cheaper than what I would be spending on "regular" clothes, even at Thrift Stores! T-shirts w/ the school logo and a pair of khakis or jeans and we are set. There are also polo shirts or fancier stuff for girls, but you definitely don't HAVE to go that route. 5 t-shirts and you are SET. I think it definitely evens the economic playing field!!!

prechrswife said...

Love uniforms. Our students wore them in the school system where I taught in Louisiana, and it was a very positive change. From a parent perspective, our girls are in a private preschool and wear uniforms. It is so easy in the mornings when it is time to get them dressed, and school shopping is simple. The only downside is that they have to have separate clothes to wear when they aren't in school, but we don't keep as many as we would if they weren't in uniforms. Someone mentioned accessibility in stores...from what I've seen, when a local school system implements uniforms, the stores will carry a larger stock of uniforms. In fact, last year I did most of my girls' uniform shopping in Louisiana where my parents live because the public schools there are in uniforms and you can find them anywhere. Public schools are not here, so the in-store supplies are more limited. I hope I'm making sense.

Elouise82 said...

My mother teaches at a public school, and when they were talking about implementing uniforms a couple years ago, all the teachers and administrators were in favor of it, especially since there was already a dress code in place. They just felt it would make things so much simpler for everyone, and allow the kids to focus more on their schoolwork rather than on whether or not their regular clothes met the dress code AND were still stylish/dramatic/athletic/what-have-you. There are plenty of ways for kids to express their personality still, too, even with uniforms, so they weren't concerned that anybody's creativity would be stifled. All around, it just seemed like a good idea.

Sadly, the parents disagreed, and the idea was shot down for their district. Oh well!

happygeek said...

I'm a fence sitter too. The two private schools I taught at had them and it became a matter of legalism with parents. So I carry the residual from that.
We do not have them at all in public schools here so we can get GREAT deals on uniform stuff from Children's place, Old Navy etc at the end of September. They bring it all in, it doesn't sell and voila, my kids are wearing polos and Khakis for darn cheap.

Shonda said...

Last year my kid's school didn't have a uniform, but just a "dress code" which I was never smart enough to figure out. Logos have to be less than 2", what's the definition of a t-shirt, bla bla bla. You have to kind of bite the bullet at the beginning of a new uniform implementation, but once you buy some navy pants and polo shirts, you're set! As a mom I love it! My daughter (2nd grade) isn't a huge fan because "none of the colors are pretty" but she doesn't really complain.

Rebekah said...

My daughter had to wear uniforms at her private pre-k. She was quite excited about it at the beginning of the year, but quickly realized that she was tired of wearing the same thing over and over again.
I personally did not like it. I didn't really want to spend the money on clothing that she wouldn't wear any other place. I was happy to be uniform free this year!

Amanda said...

The same things uniforms are praised for can be caused by wearing uniforms. I guess you'd have to ask if the cure is worse than the disease.

I went to a private school with uniforms. You had choices of what to buy, there was one version of the uniform and a cheaper version for lower-income families. If you had to buy the cheaper version, everyone could tell you were one of the kids with no money. The plaid pattern was wider than the regular uniform and the fabric was stiffer.

Other than that, because kids couldn't fixate on the style of your clothes etc. they were preoccupied with other things. I remember kids being very concerned with the brand of shoes other kids were wearing and where they purchased their shoes. It was big to have Hush Puppies when I was a kid. If you didn't, you were ruthlessly teased. Other non-uniform items, and what brand they were, like backpacks, were also a big deal to students.

And students figured out more than enough ways to be immodest with uniforms as they did with regular clothes too lol. Not to mention, having to have a uniform to wear every day and evening clothes and clothes for the weekend seemed like an added expense.

For us, it never kept anyone from being teased, it never erased issues of judging people based on perceived class or income, and it didn't solve modesty issues. It was just expensive---and itchy lol.

susieloulou said...

For, For, For.
I also was in uniforms, and loved it when my kids were.
No deciding what to wear every day (or at least much easier).
It TOTALLY evened the playing field, except for those who were desperate to make the playing field uneven, and there's nothing you can do about them.
I had NO IDEA who the starving poor were, and who the filthy rich were. I think that's better...

AwesomeCloud and family said...

I'd be ambivalent.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Uniforms would surely cause less wear and tear on the nice clothes you buy her....I would wear my uniform (my jammies) every day if someone would let me:)

Lisa said...

Our girl would just hate it, but then I'm sure if that's all you have known, the transition would be easier.

I have to agree though with Amanda and others; both of my folks went to Catholic schools throughout their education and wore uniforms. Far from leveling the playing field, the emphasis became who was most tan or had the best bling or current trendy hair-do, best perfume and later, coolest car, etc. ~ and this was a long time ago! :)

Currently we have friends whose kiddos wear uniforms and they say its even worse: label checking, constant pleas from the school to assist families in purchasing uniforms who cannot...who has the flashiest outerware, earrings, etc...

As for me? I have never worn one but as a former teacher, I would almost have to say that the dress code would need to be amped up a bit for the professionals too; seems unfair for the teachers to wear jeans and tees while the kids sport skirts and ties! LOL

kitchu said...

i'm sort of ambivalent about it(and last year our county just mandated this) but practically for my child it will be a HUGE (and i mean HUGE) challenge to find pants for her as only leggings stay on her and she can't wear them according to this policy. not to mention that the color for the pants (tan) does not work for a 5 yr old in a wheelchair who will come home everyday with black all over them because of that fact.

so, i'm frustrated about it personally even though i'm sort of neutral about it on principal. i'd prefer kids be able to choose what they wear. maybe i'm biased because this is how i grew up. i suppose it will be nice to never worry about what she is going to wear from day to day. i just hope to hell i can find something that will work for her... and girl gotta be able to get them off fast to be able to use the potty to, you know? buttons and zippers take more time. ain't like she can just hop on the toilet. there's maneuvering involved....

i digress.

Rachel said...

Makes getting my kindergartner ready for the day SO easy. Also, the kids at our school get to "accessorize" at will, so we have LOTS of fun expressing creativity with hairbows and shoes, sweaters, tights, and socks. I don't have a boy, so I can't speak to how they feel about the lack of individuality (having fewer accessory choices), but most of the 6 year-old boys I know don't care a thing about how they look.
Wouldn't trade uniforms if I could!

Anonymous said...

I don't usually post - but this topic compels me to. Our local public school's all have dress codes. It's not just color or style of pants - it's shirts must have collars and be tucked in. Pants with belt loops must have belts. Only certain types of sweaters, nothing with hoods. Here are the problems:

1) while you can find the docker style pants and polo shirts prior to school the stores DO NOT stock them after that. (and all the local public school districts require docker style pants so it's not a matter of demand) So if your kid grows 2 inches in Jan they go in "highwaters". No shorts allowed so you can't switch to shorts when it is warm.

2) uniforms are a huge expense for low income families or those with tight budgets. We get most of our clothes hand-me-down. So I would have to spend quite a bit of budget money to do school uniforms. (it was actually a consideration in choosing to homeschool) A lot of local churches and non-profits provide clothes each fall and they never have enough for the demand. If your child is not the average size then it can be a real challenge to find clothes that fit.

3) if your child has sensory issues like mine: she can't wear shirts with collars so polo shirts are agony for wearing 6 hours a day (and she will get a nasty rash); tucking in shirts is agony; etc. The school doesn't "do" IEP's for sensory issues such as this. And even if it did, you can't expect every school staff to remember that this child has an exception to the code and/or the kids will make fun/cause problems because she dresses different than the code.

My experience is that once uniforms start they only get more "picky". Ie, they move from just a set color of shirts and pants to type of shirts and pants to more restrictive colors. I get lots of hand me downs from my sister because the colors changed, etc so what was bought at end of season sales can't be used the next year.

I guess if color was the only requirement perhaps uniforms would not be such a big deal - but in my experience "uniforms" becomes not only color, but style and accessories. It becomes a good idea gone amuck. The sensory issues alone were one of the main reasons we homeschool.

Ok, that's enough of my soapbox.

JudyU

Anonymous said...

I went to the same private school from K-12, and we wore uniforms. We, however, did not have the option of buying similar looking clothes at Walmart. We had to purchase them at a special uniform store and HAD to have the EXACT uniforms, and they were very expensive. (That said, at a private school in South Florida, you are hard-pressed to find families who cannot afford them. Still a pain though).

I grew up in them and let me tell you, it's easier. I never cared about having to wear them because I did it all the way through school. It's just the way it was, and it made the morning a lot easier because I just grabbed a polo shirt and some shorts (or pants) and was out the door. The only thing I had to choose was the color.

I'm definitely FOR uniforms, and hope that when my kids are ready for school they'll be in a school that requires them.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

I like the idea *in theory*. But as a mom, it sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of laundry, for your kid to have to have a whole different wardrobe for school. And, it's not so great for the environment to have to buy all those new and color-specific clothes. I'm a fan of hand-me-downs for environmental reason, too.

Suzy said...

Ok, you MIGHT think I'd be for uniforms when I tell you that I was raised from the age of 9 on by a single man who turned me loose with money to shop for myself. I was fairly clueless about how to make sure clothes fit properly, what to wear to different occasions, etc. And I had uniform envy. I LOVED them. But,even with all of that said, I think it would have stunted my ability to shop & choose appropriate clothing even more than it was if I'd been able to/forced to wear a uniform every day. Believe me when I say, I still struggle, and please don't say there's plenty of time or opportunities later in life to develop those skills. Really? Would on the job have been better?

Alyson and Ford said...

I would vote for uniforms. I haven't read anything bad about them and I really don't think kids will lose originality or ability to shop later in life..... there are plenty of activities outside of school to show off their style. Good stuff in not having that distraction in school!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Heather said...

My son wears a uniform every day. My daughter did when she wasn't being homeschooled. Personally, I love it. It's easy, cheap, and there's no arguing, or peer pressure with the other kids. They always know what they are putting on! Besides, they always look nice too. They have a dress down day once a month. AND kids are easy to spot and track on field trips as well. Lots of benefits from my point of view.

Aus said...

110% in favor of uniforms! Besides making 'equals' in terms of fashion and style - it also makes equals in terms of parental income - and it eliminates 'tagging' common in dress styles of our local 'youth groups' (read wannabe gangsters).

It just eliminates a bunch of junk from schools - and you are going to wash the clothes anyway - does it matter what they look like?

hugs - aus and co.

Wendy said...

As a mom whose primary hobby is shopping for and dressing her six year old? I'd be disappointed not dressing her every day. But that's the selfish me.

My older daughter wore a uniform for years; it was easy to dress her as she got older. No morning fights about what to wear.

As a teacher I think they're great. I completely see how they level the playing field. I don't see cost as much of a factor. Uniforms are actually less expensive. You only need a couple of uniforms that you can rewash and there are discount stores that sell them now (i.e. Target, Walmart sell the Dockor pants and polos). Payless Shoes sell the shoes that most schools require.

Rachel said...

We are a pretty low income family and we do shop mostly a thrift stores. And I LOVE our school's uniform policy. It makes getting the kids ready easier and it is an "equalizer" since no one is wearing what happens to be fashionable that week. I completely disagree with those who said they are not financially practical for those who make less or who shop secondhand stores. We live on one low income (husband is a police officer) and I have two boys in school and their entire school wardrobe is from thrift stores (with the exception of 4 shirts purchased at Walmart for $5/each). The key is to watch for uniforms all year so that you're never desperate since you can't know when you'll find stuff at a thrift store. Also, try to shop in thrift stores in an area where the school colors are different than yours. There will be a better selection since no one in that area is looking for the same shirts/pants colors that you are!

Rachel said...

Oh, I forgot to add that most public schools in our area have a uniform policy and they are pretty flexible. Kids can wear almost any type of "bottoms" that are in the right solid colors (and you have 2 colors to choose from) and there are 4 different colors that are ok for polo shirts (and no rules on brand). This makes a uniform policy much more economical for families. And in fact, if you're tight on cash your child can wear the same pants/shirt every day (wash at night of course!) and no one would even know! How's that for economical? :)

Jboo said...

I wore uniforms to school growing up and so do/did my kids. My daughter wears a uniform at her Catholic school. Makes getting dressed every day very easy -- love that! And love the fact that we don't compete with the "it" clothes. Maybe that will change as she gets older (in 3rd grade now), but i give uniforms a big YES!

Janet

Annie said...

I am not a big fan of school uniforms - but ask me again when my girls are 14!!!!! LOL!!

Kohana said...

All schools in New South Wales (and perhaps all of Australia?), public or private, require a uniform. While there is the constant washing and ironing, I love the ease of getting Small Sun dressed in the morning.

There is so much talk about uniforms leveling the playing field. My son's (modestly priced private) school only allows uniform pieces from their school shop, with their logo. He has a summer and winter uniform. I think, all out, it will cost about 500$. Of course he can use the bag again next year, and hopefully I'll get a second wear with younger siblings, but still...how is that kind of expense an equalizer?

Still, loving the simplicity in the mornings! (I should also note that clothes in general are much more expensive in Australia so this expense seems even more outrageous to my American frame of reference.)

Mahmee said...

I'm big on individuality and a persons right to express themselves but, I get it. I understand why uniforms are getting more and more popular. I wore one myself in grade school for a few years (and hated every stinking minute of it - took me about 20 years to finally accept wearing brown again.) We are looking at putting our daughter into a school this Fall that requires uniforms. I'm not that thrilled with the uniforms but, it's not a deal-breaker issue...nothing I'm going to pull out the picket signs over anyway. Guess my rebel days are waning.
M.

snekcip said...

My daughter attends a daycare that goes up to 3rd grade and starting from 18mos on up, the kids are all in school uniform. The uniforms is pretty lenient on choices, despite the "required" plaid jumpers. The kids can wear navy pants w/red polo shirts and the girls are usually in the plaid jumpers! On Fridays, is free dress and other times thru out the year they "relax the rules" and let them wear "regular clothes" the whole week! While it is convenient, I have days where I have "cheated" and let her wear her own wardrobe *before she outgrows them* and even have ordered the required uniform material on line and have a seamstress create jumpers/shorts complete w/her monogrammed name on them! I even found the perfectly plaid red/blue tennis shoes to match and socks w/the ruffled plaid borders! So there is a way to express individuality!

On a another factor, her personal wardrobe can be resold or passed on down and are always in excellent condition!

BevS97 said...

In the UK all children wear uniforms, normally black or grey skirt/pants, white polo shirt and coloured cardigan or sweatshirt The uniforms are cheap and widely available. I love them, they are easy, the kids accept them as everyone wears them, the laundry is no better/worse than any other clothes, and it keeps the nice clothes 'nice'.
I went to school in the States with no uniforms, and much prefer school uniform.