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School Uniforms

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Uniforms in the School Environment: Can Clothing Really Effect Your Education?

Going to public schools all my life, I heard the gossip of "fashion" and "whose wearing what,"pretty much everyday; at least in the four years of high school where it seemed that looks mattered the most. As people grow up, the way they present themselves becomes more and more important. Leaving a good mark in high school means a lot to some people, and some are ready to do whatever it takes to make that mark, whether it be putting someone down for their clothing or being an individual and not caring what others think of you or what your wearing. Having friends from middle school that branched out and went the alternative route; private schools, one of the first things that came back to me from them was how much easier it was to having a uniform to wear to school. Going to a school where uniforms are strictly enforced can help to create a better learning environment. Having uniforms would call for a lot less distraction in the classroom, there would be much more time for homework and there would not be as many problems concerning the wear of inappropriate clothing to take away from school time. A quote from the essay, "The Achievement of Desire," by Richard Rodriguez fits particularly well in this essay. "Get all the education you can, with an education you can do anything." This just doesn't seem like the main idea to many kids anymore and I think that uniforms would help to bring that thought back into a lot of our heads. I know that the idea of wearing a uniform repulses many people, but when broken down, school uniforms really do seem like the way to go.

If it was a requirement to wear a uniform to school, there would be many more kids paying attention in classes. Looking around the classroom at what other kids are wearing is a great way to make time fly by. If everyone was wearing the same things, then the distraction of different clothing would be eliminated. Many people worry that uniforms would take away the opportunity for kids to be who they are or who they want to be, but I feel as though wearing uniforms would simply force kids to show their individualism in ways outside of fashion and appearance. When looking at an Opinion Board on the internet I came across the idea that visually uniforms result in a more equal and adult treatment of students, eliminating any idea that one student is being favored over another. "Visually, all students were equal. They appeared equal which resulted in more equal treatment from both peers and teachers alike." When a student looks presentable, they will not only be treated as a student, but as an equal, which I feel both students and teachers would benefit from. In the essay, "The Ð''Banking' Concept of Education,"written by Paulo Freire, there were two types of education discussed. "Banking"education and "Problem-Posing" education. "Banking" education was looked at with the idea that the teacher was the higher power and the student was simply an object where as in "Problem-Posing" education, the teacher and students both taught and learned the information together. Uniforms would help bring "Problem-Posing" teaching back into the classrooms of many schools. There would also be a large drop in the amount of teasing that goes on in school. When I asked my old roommate, Maureen Brillante, who attended Sacred Heart Academy about the benefits of going to a school with uniforms, one of the first things she said was that it prevents people's feelings from being hurt since everyone is wearing the same thing. "There is a lot less gossip about clothes and it is much harder to judge people when everyone looks the same. The atmosphere around the whole school just seems brighter that way," she said with a big smile on her face. Having gone to an elementary school that did not have uniforms, Maureen experienced both worlds and found uniforms made high school that much easier to get through.

Decisions, Decisions. Should I go home and get my homework done or should I go to the mall and get those new shoes I saw online the other day? Uniforms would help to eliminate one of these decisions. If you had to wear a uniform to school, maybe you would not be in such a rush to go buy the latest clothing, after all, you really can't even wear it to school. This gives a student more time for homework and studying. A great deal of studying and focusing is needed to succeed in school, which Richard Rodriguez emphasizes greatly in his essay "The Achievement of Desire." "The boy needs to spend more and more time studying, each night enclosing himself in the silence permitted and required by intense concentration." Without this concentration Rodriguez speaks of, a student's grades are bound to suffer. Another benefit of uniforms is that you will save money because you won't be buying half the amount of clothes that you normally would be if you did not need to wear a uniform. This idea didn't even cross my mind until my interview with Maureen. "In the long run, you really start to save money. A few outfits for the weekends are all you really need, and unless the school changes uniforms while you're there, you can pretty much wear your same uniform for as long as you can fit into it." There is also a lot more time in the mornings to wake up and have a healthy breakfast because you don't have to worry about picking out an outfit to wear. Breakfast



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