The Politics of School Uniform: Dressing Diversity

Introduction

The current educational environment serves as a place with particular diversification and poses critical concerns regarding the concepts of humanity and individual differences of the students. While the established dress code is considered the tool to facilitate a more serious school atmosphere and enhance student attainment, the school uniform also gives rise to critical challenges among the students regarding their diversity. According to Anderson (2002), confronting a school dress code significantly improves student behavior, decreases the differences in socioeconomic levels, and fosters students’ self-esteem. However, Deane (2015) argues that the school directive that develops the school uniform policies confronts the question of humanity and undermines students’ capacity to address the difference. Therefore, it is essential to examine whether the school dress code policies go beyond educational purposes and find an appropriate solution to this problem.

The School Dress Codes

The existing research data does not provide sufficient evidence on the direct linkage between school uniforms and students’ behavior or academic performance. Anderson’s (2015) research examines the role of the school uniform as a “concrete and visible” tool to restore order within a classroom (p. 4). However, such a traditional and long-established perception about incorporating a specific dress code in the educational settings confronts the opposing view, emphasizing students’ freedom of expression, and the financial burden of low-income families. Some researchers also argue that the dress code requirements encroach on Amendment rights, restrain individuality, and enforce unnecessary means of control (Anderson, 2002). Supporters of the school dress code advocate for its key advantages, including “enhanced school safety, improved learning climate, increased self-confidence, and reduced stress for the family” (Anderson, 2002, p. 7). Integrating the school uniform into the regular educational policies is a complex and controversial issue and requires a more detailed examination from various perspectives.

The Dressing Diversity

The primary focus of this research is to understand the central goal behind implementing the school dress code policies into the educational environment. As described by Deane (2015), imposing a strict dressing control for the students is a “story of mingled concerns about academic achievement, juvenile delinquency, gender appropriateness, race relations, and gang affiliation” (p. 113). Such institutional control regarding school uniform policies might be seen as regulating students’ bodies and appearance and defining interpersonal relationships with one another. For this reason, the schools need to reform the current uniform policies to keep them in an adequate perspective and avoid exaggerating its potential benefits. The main point of Deane’s argument is that the school uniform policies might cover the actual aims behind improved academic gains and social behavior. By addressing the social and individual diversity, the researcher emphasizes that the school dress code disregards the historical and philosophical significance of ordering students to dress their difference uniformly.

Conclusion: Finding a Solution

Considering both sides of the argument, the school dress code and established uniforms are not the negative aspects of educational policies. They create a more organized environment, wherein students concentrate specifically on their academic results and not the external features of one’s appearance. However, the intensified focus on the school uniform control eliminates the space for the actual conversation and depoliticizes the difference among the students. The proper solution would be incorporating the flexible school dress code or uniforms, considering the religious expression, financial affordability, freedom of expression, legislative standards, and only educational purposes. The learning environment must foster one’s academic performance and help students recognize the difference as a crucial schooling function.

Reflection

How does the Rogerian model of argument help you better understand the topic that’s being discussed? Why is it a good practice to acknowledge both sides of the argument?

The Rogerian model of argument helped pay more attention to each of the arguments regarding the school uniform policies rather than selecting only one point of view and further developing it. As a result, the detailed discussion of both research works led to a proper solution, a compromise based on the two perspectives. It is a good practice to acknowledge both sides of the argument because it clarifies all the benefits and the adverse outcomes of the examined problem.

Will you use the Rogerian Approach in your argumentative essay? Why or why not?

I have applied the Rogerian approach in my argumentative essay to better understand the issue of incorporating the school uniform and its implication on student academic achievements. Such a model significantly assists in developing the most effective and sound solution to the current issue.

References

Deane, S. (2015). Dressing diversity: Politics of difference and the case of school uniforms. Philosophical Studies in Education, 46, 111–120.

Anderson, W. (2002). School dress codes and uniform policies. Policy Report, 4, 3–22.

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