Whether school uniforms are necessary or not and why remains on the list of the most debatable questions in the sphere of education. Not solely the United States continues to have hot disputes on the issue; the argument is on a global scale, and there has not been any consensus yet. The present audience, presumably, also comprises both supporters and opponents of dress codes, whose positions actually deserve equal consideration. A possible point of agreement is business-style clothing for school attendees, which fosters unity and a sense of belonging without depriving the students of the possibility to express themselves.
Each side of the debate, in fact, argues for either of two extremes, specifically, dressing as formally as possible or not dressing formally at all. The first variant involves wearing the units a particular school designs exclusively for its students, which are compulsory for everyone. An example is in the following picture; it shows the Saraswati Shishukunj school in Borsad, the state of Gujarat, India (“Why It Is Necessary” para. 3). Such garments, as a rule, bear the logo of the institution and are of strictly determined fashions and colors. In one respect, multiple studies show that unified looks help students identify themselves with the school, adding to their dedication; this actually is among the main arguments of the supporters (Reidy para. 33). On the contrary, such policies neglect cultural variety and do not provide any room for self-expression.
A complete absence of a dress code, meanwhile, creates opposite problems. Notably, the atmosphere at an educational facility hardly differs from that at home in such a case, which interferes with developing a suitable environment for teamwork. According to a British study, almost half of students and 98% of teachers believe that the latter nuance can increase bullying (“Research Shows” paras. 3, 6). This apparently results from the lack of an integrating force; hence little to no psychological and emotional attachment to schoolmates. Another reason is that excessive variety in clothing reveals disparities in income, which favors discrimination.
A possible solution is developing a set of recommendations on the types of clothes that a certain school allows or does not allow its attendees to choose. Their designs can vary within the business style, which may involve ties or blazers but normally prohibits jeans (Shanks para. 6). The following picture, which shows Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts, is a bright example (“High School Dress Code”). As apparent, color decisions are the area where the students may rely on their personal preferences. The essential requirement, meanwhile, is to look decent and neat, as this favors treating the school, the peers, and the learning process with the appropriate respect.
To summarize, formal dress codes doubtlessly are relevant in schools, but they should not presuppose absolute unification because this is a form of suppressing the students’ personalities. Regular business-style clothes, which allow for an official and serious, but not standardized, appearance, are a more appropriate option. Notably, wearing them enables both unity and self-expression, helping to create a sufficiently friendly and productive atmosphere at the educational institution.
One of the critical points in the discussion of how wearing or not wearing uniforms is able to affect school attendees is the possible influence on their academic performance. According to the widespread opinion, dressing formally improves it through fostering discipline. Educational authorities, therefore, may endorse dress code policies, as the quality of learning is the key measurement of their productivity. In fact, however, direct practical evidence for any correlations between uniforms and academic achievements is dramatically scarce.
The primary point to highlight is the irrelevance of regarding discipline as the only factor of success in learning. Several other essential determinants exist, among which are the professional as well as personal characteristics of the teachers, the technical advancement of the school, and even the size of the classroom (Reidy para. 13). Assumedly, discipline can improve learning outcomes in combination with these parameters, but it will hardly be effective in case not all of the above are at an appropriate level. For instance, the following picture shows a low-quality school in South Africa (Campbell). The students apparently would have poor chances for a degree in the USA or other developed countries, even if they behave properly in the classroom. It is not reasonable to assume that adopting a uniform would assist them in any way.
Furthermore, the statement that unified dress codes add to discipline is quite debatable, although many parents, teachers, and officials are convinced that they do. Thus, in the next picture, which was taken in one of the British school, wearing the uniform does not prevent the teenagers from improper behavior (Gyngell).
Although this is a single case, it illustrates that dress codes do not necessarily help organize and motivate school attendees. An adequate assessment of their efficiency is impossible without thorough long-term research that would cover several culturally dissimilar societies and appropriately created selections. The currently available data, meanwhile, are the outcomes of regional studies that possess numerous structural limitations, primarily in scope.
A few of the local investigations actually note positive correlations between strict uniform policies and academic results. Dataset-based analysis, which systematizes and summarizes the accessible information on a certain topic, however, does not prove their existence (Dewar para. 9; Reidy para. 11). This drives the conclusion that the improvements may result from successful reforms in separate schools that involved adopting uniforms along with other measures.
To summarize, there are few to no reasons to state that formal dress codes can factor positively into academic performance, in particular, by rising discipline. First, the latter is not the only parameter to determine the quality of education; it is essential but cannot serve as a
universal remedy. Second, analyzing the accessible research outcomes that regard the issue in large arrays did not reveal any direct links between uniforms and grades.
Dewar, Gwen. School Uniforms: What Does the Research Tell Us? Parenting Science, 2022, Web.
Reidy, Johanna. “Reviewing School Uniform through a Public Health Lens: Evidence about the Impacts of School Uniform on Education and Health.” Public Health Reviews, Web.
“Research Shows Wearing a School Uniform Helps to Reduce Bullying.” Trutex, 2017, Web.
Shanks, Rachel. School Uniform Policy in Scottish Schools: Control and Consent. European Educational Research Association, 2021, Web.
Campbell, John. “South Africa’s Education Woes.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2017, Web.
Gyngell, Kathy. “Of Course Children Are Too Badly Behaved for School. Their Parents Are Too Busy to Bring Them Up Properly.” Daily Mail Online, 2012, Web.
“High School Dress Code.” Landmark School, n.d., Web.
“Why It Is Necessary to Have a School Uniform?” Saraswati Shishukunj, n.d., Web.