Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fall in Line Kiddo

I liked school as a kid. Really liked it. It probably helped that I was a pretty smart kid, school came easy.
I remember planning my outfit for the first day most of the summer, that was one of the best parts of going back to school.
Next year, however, my kids lose that right. Their school has decided to implement a uniform policy, their PUBLIC school. The school sent home a little informal poll asking us to vote on this subject a few weeks ago and though the results were not released, the school principal "says" as a result of the poll, there will be uniforms.

Blue, green, or White (HA) shirts, and blue, black or khaki pants. EVERY DAY.

I am fundamentally opposed to public school uniforms for many reasons.
1. There is NO conclusive proof uniforms have benefits, especially on the elementary school level. In some places, where gang activity is a problem, it has helped at high schools. But just like slapping a coat of paint on a crumbling building putting uniforms on kids at a failing school will not help.

2.It takes a kids right to chose. Since they were 2 or 3 years old my kids have picked out their own clothes. Public school already smothers every bit of self expression out of our kids. No recess, no sitting with friends at lunch, no hugging, no singing in class (even in K), and definitely no learning to think for your self. Instead it's preparing for the FCAT, having useless shit crammed down their throats.

3. Giving individual schools the right to make up rules as they go, is a slippery slope. I bet some of the supporters of these uniforms would shit bricks if the school took an informal poll and decided to teach sex ed a new way.

4. The cost. NO it is not cheaper, at all. I shop all year long for my boys back to school clothes, getting killer deals. I never pay more than $7 for Gap and Old Navy Jeans. Jeans that last most of the year, even with boys. Now I am going to spend more than $400 on 4 uniform sets for each of the three boys. These clothes will not last all year. Dark polos shrink and fade fast. Khakis will be ripped at the knee in weeks.

5. It does NOT blur class lines. The school is not supplying the uniforms, so some kids will be in old, hand me down, goodwill polo and khaki and some will be in designers ones. If a publicly funded school want to force uniforms, it better be ready to supply them to kids who can't afford them. And since my sons' school has a pretty high level of students living at or below the poverty level, there will be more than a few kids who can't afford them.

What got me the most? The reason most parents were supporting it. It's easier.
EASIER??? Of course taking away a person's right to make choices is easy for other people. It would be EASIER for the government if we lived in a communist country. None of those pesky freedoms getting in the way.
I also keep hearing it's not a big deal. It is a big deal to me. If I wanted my kids to be in uniforms, they would be in private school. This is about parental and hell even KIDS rights.


Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Holy. Bananas.

I have to say, before I read your arguments, I was pretty ambivalent. But you're absolutely right on every single point. As a "retired" teacher, I wholeheartedly agree.

The only time I've heard of public schools wearing uniforms is, like you said, in gang-related instances.

Paisley said...

Great post! I also disagree with uniforms. I went to two high schools - one with a dress code and one without. Guess at which school it was cool to have good
grades? Yep, the one without a dress code. There was also low incidence of violence and teen pregnancy.

Woo222 said...

This is ridiculous. I read this post a few nights ago, but didn't comment. I do that a lot lately..I've been reading, but I'm so tired or I've only got a second, so I plan to come back and comment later. I don't want you to think I don't care or haven't been keeping up on your life. I know this are rough right now. About the uniforms, it is so uncalled for. To me it is another hoop they're trying to make you jump through and your points are excellent. The cost alone ought to be enough to just wipe out the whole idea. They're going to create more problems than they're solving with this policy.