Newswise — School uniforms help lessen the burden on parents and teachers and equalize students, say two University of North Texas experts.
Dr. Arminta Jacobson, founder and director of UNT's Center for Parent Education at UNT, calls a school uniform "a normalizer."
"It puts all kids on the same playing field in terms of their appearance. I think it probably gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling of being socially accepted. Emotional and social well-being certainly do carry over into the classroom," she says.
If a student wears a uniform to school each day, parents would no longer face "the daily hassles of monitoring what's appropriate for children to wear to school," she says.
"As long as schools have some funds for children who can't afford the uniform, it probably in the long run would mean families would have a smaller clothing budget for their children because they would wear the same one or two outfits," Jacobson says.
Dr. Jo Murphy, coordinator in the field experience program in the UNT Department of Teacher Education and Administration, adds that dress codes could help administrators save valuable time that could be better spent on instruction. Murphy has worked in Northeast Texas public schools for 29 years.
"As an elementary assistant principal in two suburban districts, I can tell you that the dress code took up a great deal of my time in the area of discipline," Murphy says.
In one district, she says, the dress code "was a constant issue."
"I wished many times that we had uniforms because the issue of skirts or shorts being too short, and baggy jeans and pants on the boys not being pulled up as they needed to be, would have been a non-issue."
Murphy agrees that uniforms help equalize students, even if students — and parents — resist the mandatory uniforms.
"I think it would have leveled the playing field and given all students the opportunity to be seen as equal in terms of the designer clothes issue, and the fashion fads. We have so much to cover in the curriculum now, and students have so much going on in their lives. I believe we could eliminate some of the negatives and the wasted time if uniforms were the policy everywhere," she says.