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School Uniforms, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

A heated discussion has been ongoing in the recent past concerning the issue of uniform in schools. Policies on mandatory uniforms have been supported by some people while others have disapproved the policies. The proponents of the measures cite some benefits that are associated with uniforms in schools as being exceptional behaviors coupled with positive academic outcomes. Uniforms in schools have been associated with some positive effects on the behavior of the students. In the first place, possible victimization of the students is declined. Possibility of gang activities and fights among the students is drastically reduced. School uniforms create a distinction between the students and strangers in the school environment (Daugherty, 2002).

Uniforms have been a preserve of private as well as parochial schools in America until the recent past. They were perceived as a vital element in environment of institutions of learning. However, this trend has changed later with high interests developing requiring that public schools implement the policies of wearing uniforms for their students. The initiative was instigated by the parents on the basis of their assumptions that the levels of discipline would be improved once the students are made to wear uniforms. The parents also hypothesized that the learning environment would be made more conducive and instances of violence would be greatly reduced on successful implementation of school uniform policies (Essex, 2001).

Although the measure was seen to be associated with numerous achievements, some controversies were also associated with the policy. The proponents reported some success as a result of improvement in academic performance, reduction of truancy in addition to incidences of violence, lower cost of clothing and a general improvement in the social environment of respective schools (Bodine, A., (2003).

On the other hand, the opponents of these measures have questioned the claims by the proponents concerning their validity. They have failed to relate the achievements in academic achievements and improved discipline to the implementation of uniform policies. The opponents argue that, the available evidence in support of school uniforms is subjective on the basis of the opinions held by the school administrators, parents as well as educators. It is important to appreciate the fact that, school uniforms is a relatively new development in public schools. Consequently, much research work is still needed in this field because, the available evidence from research is limited and the little that is available is conflicting (Essex, 2001).

Long Beach school in CA was the first public school to comply with the adoption of school uniforms in 1994. Most other schools followed suit and by May 2000, over 200 000 students had complied with this initiative making a significant landmark. The adoption of school uniforms has followed the patterns of individual schools or system-wide in some situations in the largest districts. To achieve success in the implementation of school uniforms, recommendations to follow the manual provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s.  According to this manual, parents and school administration must follow a number of stipulated guidelines.

Firstly, the involvement of the parents in implementing the policy is very important. The religious expression of the students should also be given due consideration. It is also important to consider the option of voluntary policy or a mandatory one with reference to the school uniforms for each school. In case the option of a mandatory policy is the choice, it is also prudent to have a consideration of a provision of opt-out. The families with poor financial background should also be assisted in terms of purchasing the desired uniform. The school uniforms should also be considered as a program of overall safety to the students (McCarthy, 2001).

The implementation of uniforms in schools will involve some drastic changes that are likely to pose significant effects to the students. Additionally, some changes will also be experienced by the parents as well as the school faculty. The changes are also likely to be immediate, extremely visible and also create a significant shift with regard to the environmental landscape of the academic institution concerned. The changes are also anticipated to be superficial while it is also likely to attract significant attention as a result of the nature of visibility that is associated with this measure. The institution of a policy for school uniforms could also be analogous the cleaning painting and then painting a building that is under a deteriorating situation (Essex, 2001). This implies that the issue will most likely attract the attention of many while significant improvements that are linked to the implementation of this measure are not actually achieved. Consequently, the anticipated changes serves a major purposes of attracting the schools attention but the existing problems may remain unresolved (Bodine, A., (2003).

Implementation of school uniform as a policy is also likely to positively transform the attitudes of the students towards learning and imparts a sense of belonging to their specific schools. This is achieved through enhancement in the learning environment of the schools, upgrading the pride of the school, increasing the achievement of the students, improving the extents of students’ preparedness and promotion of the degree of conformity in achieving the goals of the institution. (McCarthy, 2001).School uniforms are also attributed to a lower level of behavioral problems among students. This aspect is achieved through enhancing the students’ attendance rates, decreasing the rates of suspension from schools, decreasing the risk of substance use and abuse. There are a number of psychological outcomes that are associated with wearing uniforms in schools. They include a high degree of self esteem among the students, high spirits for the students, and a feeling of belonging and oneness (Essex, 2001).

Implementation of school uniforms is associated with reduced pressure to the students’ decision of choice of clothing. The time taken by the student for preparation in the morning is also significantly reduced. The overall cost of the uniforms is also less. The attendance of the students to their schools also improves significantly and the environment is made more students friendly. The level of concentration to academic issues and lessons is also improved. The level of violence among the students is also drastically reduced. Students in uniforms also tend to have less social conflicts. It is also possible to recycle and also reuse the uniforms (McCarthy, 2001). The management of the schools can be able to identify intruders more easily when the students are in uniforms.

The school environment is also made to be more orderly and disciplined making young people to be able to make their own evaluation based on what they are and not what uniforms they are wearing (Daugherty, 2002).

However, the measure of implementing school uniforms is criticized by some opponents, according to the opponents’ viewpoint; the effectiveness of the policy is questionable. They also indicate some legal and financial implications of the measure. The focus of the legal aspect of school uniforms is the violation of the individual rights of the students. The opponents suggest that mandatory policies of school uniforms should be a preserve of schools in urban districts. The policy therefore should not be forced among the schools in minority regions characterized by poor populations. The financial aspect of school uniforms is associated with the costs that are required to be incurred by parents. The cost of the uniform is predetermined by the sellers and most parents may not be in a position to afford the cost. The most potent argument that is advocated for by the opponents cites the absence of empirical evidence that back up the claims raised by the proponents concerning school uniforms (Bodine, A., (2003).

Research methods

In conducting this research, it was important to account for the use of secondary research. This has the implication of collection and use of information that is available in books, journal articles and the internet. This is an approach of gathering important information on the subject that consumes relatively less time and the extent of the required input is also significantly minimal as compared to the use of primary research. However, it is important to take note that, this method of research may fail to yield the much information needed because in most cases, the information derived from these sources may be outdated. With specific reference to this particular research, much work has not been done and therefore, a vacuum of information is expected (McCarthy, 2001). Consequently, the choice of the use of secondary research must be taken with a high degree of care to avoid incorporating irrelevant information. Consequently, collection of the maximum information available is the best practice for this research due to the limitation of research in this field. At the time of this research, the major sources of information that are to be given due consideration include the previous research articles on the issue of school uniforms, the most relevant journal articles as well as books that give reliable account of implementation of school uniform policies. The internet sources that were found to have beneficial information on the subject and additional resources that were identified as being appropriate to this study. The information which was found to be useful is consequently incorporated in the section of literature in this research paper. This information is important in reinforcing the critical knowledge associated with the research problem in addition to the core feature of study phenomena (Daugherty, 2002).

In addition to secondary research, it was also prudent to consider primary research in this paper. In this respect, raw information concerning the subject of importance is gathered using a variety of approaches. Consequently several tools are considered in this respect. These include the formal as well as informal questionnaires that are administered to selected participants. Questionnaires and interviews are very resourceful tools in gathering data but they are also faced with some challenges. The available challenges include insufficient cooperation of some of the most important respondents, some participants may be hostile to the researcher and in other cases, the respondents determine the pace of completing the research. Consequently, the use of primary research becomes extremely time consuming as well as being extremely taxing. The cost that is associated with the primary research is also another limitation. (Bodine, A., (2003).

In conducting primary research, it is also prudent to consider ethical issues related to the participants. The questionnaires provided differ with the specific interest areas of the respondents. The respondents must also be given individual informed consent before they are involved in the research. This incorporates the risks as well as the benefits that are associated with their participation in this research. It is also important to consider all ethical standards of the research procedures. In case any respondent is unwilling to answer any of the questions, then it is always prudent to uphold their rights and no efforts of forcing them to comply are applicable. The privacy of participants should also be guaranteed (Essex, 2001).

Findings

On the basis of available information, it is prudent to argue that, implementation of school uniform policy is associated with positive changes in the school set up if the issue is not taken from its extreme end. It is advisable to consider a dress code. However, most students may have a negative attitude towards uniforms but in the end analysis, it is notable that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Some of the studies that were conducted have highlighted some positive changes that are allied to the implementation and adoption of uniforms in schools. They include the changes in behavior, academic outcomes and the levels of attendance among the students. According to other researchers however, uniforms is not the sole contributor to the positive changes but its contribution has been noted as important in this respect. The incorporation of uniforms with other policies is likely to make positive changes with respect to the improvement of attendance in addition to the behavior of the students and also significant changes in the performance of the students.

Timeline-Ghant chart

Timeline-Ghant chart

References

Bodine, A., (2003). “School Uniforms, Academic Achievement, and Uses of Research” The Journal of  Educational Research, v. 97, no. 2, pp. 67-71.

Daugherty, R. F. (2002). “Leadership in Action: Piloting a School Uniform Program” Education 123,   pp.390-393.

Essex, N. L. (2001). “School Uniforms: Guidelines for Principals” Principal, pp. 38-39. Reston, VA.

McCarthy, M.M. (2001). “Restrictions on Student Attire: Dress Codes and Uniforms” Educational Horizons, pp. 155-157.

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