As the new school year sets in and we fall deeper in what some economists are calling a recession, many parents are struggling with the idea of buying a whole new back to school wardrobe for their children. Some school officials in Newark, New Jersey hope to eliminate at least a little of the parents’ burden.
Newark’s new school’s superintendent Clifford Janey announced recently that he will require more than 30,000 students in various schools across the city to wear uniforms to school starting in the winter of 2009. The schools will work with retailers to put together a low cost and flexible uniform for the children to wear. On average a shirt may cost between $8 and $10.
With the news comes both resistance and open arms from students and parents. On the downside, children may feel that they can no longer express their individuality at school the same way they had before. Some children may feel peers who attend schools that don’t require uniforms will ridicule them.
But it does take a lot of the worry out of getting ready in the morning or feeling insecure about the way a particular outfit may look. Kids will also be relieved of the pressure of feeling inadequate if they are not wearing the latest designer name jeans. And for the schools’ staff, it will take the hassle out of enforcing a dress code all day long.
Some schools in Newark have already implemented a mandatory uniform. Parents of the Elliott Street School lobbied to have uniforms for the students. In 2003, the principal of that school, Angel Juarbe, mandated the uniforms. Juarbe described the success of the uniforms to the Daily Newarker when he said, “It unified the students, promoted pride, helped students resist peer pressure and saved parents money. That was the big thing, parents could buy one or two uniforms and it was much less expensive than an entire back to school wardrobe.”
What do you think of schools implementing a uniform as a way to help parents save money?
Would mandatory uniforms be something you would like to see in your child’s school?
There are ways to help people pay for them. For example, if schools would have a buy/sell, allowing all the parents to bring in uniforms that are in good condition to resell, or buy the uniforms from people, washing them, then re-selling from the school, also the schools could buy a larger amount of them and would cut cost for the parents, plus save time for parents having to go shopping to find them. This would help people to be sure to be able to find them, as well as to buy them. Of course it would be up to the school board to get the money together for the first buy of uniforms. They could sell them for a dollar or 2 above cost to help pay for washing/repairs/ and even might have enough money extra to help with children that just can't afford clothing at all. Most schools have a cloths closet, they could put used uniforms there. Plus most stores have really great sells near the end of school and another before they get the fall cloths out, someone from the school could buy up shirts in different sizes to have to go w/the used uniforms. PTA could be very helpful in this also, they could have sells to help buy uniforms. If this was put in affect all would win.
I do not think that it saves any money. I have to buy more at the beginning of the school year with uniforms than I did before uniforms. I always buy new school clothes but before uniforms I could use the clothes that my son all ready had to fill in so I did not have to buy so much at once. With the uniform thing....every fall I have to buy an entire new wardrobe. It is very expensive for me as a single parent. I try to start buying early but they really do not stock the uniforms until right before school starts.
Uniforms may be "handy" not having to worry about what to wear etc. It may save on the cost of clothes also but there will always be those that "embelish" or have those designer things that will send the statement that "I'm better".
My son has woren uniforms since he was three years old. I like it! I look year round of cheap shirts and pants, I find them everywhere. There is no arguing about what to wear each day. Yes, there is a difference in quality of unifor.ms but kids do look very similar. I teach in a school that has a very loose dress "code". Kids wear junk and revealing clothes. I teach high school kids and they try to show to much. Boys wear tore up jeans and smart saying shirts, that come close to the line. You can see poor from rich in a heart beat. I wish they had to wear a uniform like all adults do at some point
I wore uniforms in school thru 8th grade and then was suddenly "thrown" into a high school that had a dress code but not a uniform. I remember being so excited about not having to wear that stupid uniform anymore--my uniforms were plaid jumpers with yellow "peter-pan" collars, knee socks, and dress shoes (in the 1980s.) Anyway, once I was in high school for about a week, I began wishing to have the uniforms back! I hated having to figure out what to wear everyday and trying to compete with the "rich kids." We weren't poor by any stretch, but we didn't shop at the high end stores either because there were 4 kids in my family. I am for uniforms in schools, based on my own experience. There are enough other stresses in kids' lives today without having to add the stress of fitting in based solely on where you buy your clothes!
My daughter started a new school this year where uniforms are required. Khaki and polo's, plain shoes, etc. The school system tried to "sell" the public on the idea of cost savings to parents among the other ideas mentioned in the main article above. The decision was split but they received just enough votes to pass it. The end result, uniforms cost more than regular street clothes (even from the dollar stores) and that's if you can find them. There are still kids running around in name brand clothing and those who cannot afford it. Uniforms have not done anything to hide the social class wars that go on in all schools across America. Kids know what the others are wearing so regardless if everyone is wearing a white polo with a khaki pant, they are going to know if it's Hollister, Ambercrombie, Calvin Klein or some other brand. As far as making it easier for the teachers to enforce the dress code-that's a false statement. For the majority of schools across the nation, teachers are simply too afraid to enforce the rules in place. With school violence on the rise at a record pace, it's no wonder teachers are afraid to enforce the slightest rule! I just don't see how having the kids dress in similiar colors teaches any personal responsibility or helps the family financially.
I am a high school yearbook teacher and do not like the idea of a uniform. I understand the pluses, but I would hate to see a school yearbook where everyone looks the same. In the area where I work, kids are not ashamed of wearing used clothing. They embrace the idea of "vintage" and "recycling". We even have some students who buy used clothing and use their sewing machines to create something new. I am very impressed with today's youth. They do want to express themselves and their wardarobe is one area where they love to do it. The school where I work has a conservative dress code, very much like a typical work place would have. I see many teens who are able to not only express their individuality while sticking to the rules but also doing it on a tight budget.
We've had uniforms in our public school district in Texas for several years. Financially, it is a plus: I actually spend less on clothes for my now middle school son. I get polo shirts from the used uniform closet of a nearby private school for $5 each. (ask your local private schools if you can buy out of their closet) I get pants at Dillards Clearance Center when they are on sale for 40% off of 40% off, which makes them about $3, or if the uniform closet has them. I stock up off-season. Then, one pair of black tennis shoes lasts the whole year, and I'll buy those online through eBates to get a rebate on my purchase. Then, socially it is a plus: the kids just focus on their school work and not each other. What people are wearing is not a topic of conversation because they are all wearing the same thing. In addition, I have seen the children act more responsible when they are wearing their uniform, it makes them feel more important (and I reinforce this concept to my child).
My daughter has been wearing uniforms the last two years since junior high. I did not like the idea at first and I still do not like it. Our uniforms are khaki style pants and polo shirts. There are still wealthy kids buying the Hollisters and Abercrombies while poorer children try to get by on dollar store brands and being made fun of. Also, some children are wearing the pants so tight, and shirts so skin tight, that I dont see the point of the uniforms if they can be this revealing! I have to have two sets of clothes now, one for school and one for home/church. As a single Mom that is very stressful. I have a sister who lives out of town who used to give me her childrens clothes as they were outgrown. I never had to buy clothes!! The first year, I actually had to put off an important medical procedure a couple of months because of having to buy uniforms. The district says it supplies uniforms to poor families, but you have to be on food stamps or TANF to qualify! Working parents do not qualify! Bad idea. The school could have just enforced the dress code they already had.