The issue of school uniforms becoming mandatory in educational institutions has garnered significant attention and resulted in heated debates with its supporters and opposition providing strong arguments why they champion their positions. In her article “Dressing Diversity: Politics of Difference and the Case of school uniforms,” published in the Journal of Philosophical Studies in Education in the year 2015, Samantha Deane offers reasons why uniforms are inappropriate (Deane, 2015). The author suggests that school uniforms misguide students by preventing them from realizing, acknowledging, and embracing their differences. Thus, they should be banished and students taught to foster a society where individuals are self-aware and appreciate divergence. On the other hand, Wendell Anderson, in his report, “School dress codes and uniform policies” provides several advantages of uniforms and specific dress codes (Anderson, 2002). The author explains that it indices discipline, allows children to learn in a safe environment, and encourages them to focus on academics. Hence, students should be given a chance to express themselves through their dress codes to help acknowledge their differences while adhering to strict regulations on what to wear to realize the benefits of uniformity.
Samantha Deane suggests that schools are institutions where children learn to perceive themselves and others to confront the attributes of humanity. As a result, uniforms prevent them from recognizing and reconciling their differences. According to Deane (2015), a similar dress code undermines students’ capacity to confront their dissimilarities. The author explains that some policymakers argue for school uniforms because they promote respect toward one another, a community spirit, and high academic standards. However, she argues that uniforms serve to conceal individuals’ differences, thus putting them in a difficult position when they face the outside world where differences determine social interactions. The relevance of the author’s suggestion is that uniforms deny students social justice because it does not equip them to thrive in the public sphere. Thus, educational institutions should deliver on their objectives of teaching students how to come together in a common environment by openly discussing and embracing their differences (Deane, 2015). This is only possible with the abolition of uniform policies to enable children to familiarize themselves with their nature and others’ unique attributes.
Wendell Anderson champions school uniforms and strict dress code policies because of their potential implications on children’s learning environment. The author draws information from various resources including interviews with school officials and past research suggesting that school uniforms improve education institutions’ climate by limiting the exclusion of less fortunate students because of what they wear (Anderson, 2002). Additionally, uniforms place less stress on parents and guardians, enhance security in learning environments, and enhance students’ self-esteem. Moreover, the author mentions that the lack of school uniforms can promote gang-related dress codes and allow other students to dress inappropriately (Anderson, 2002). As a result, developing reliable policies to guide school dress codes can allow educators to reap the benefits of uniformity and encourage their students to focus more on their studies and maintain high levels of discipline.
Common-Ground and Compromise
Both authors agree that educational institutions should focus on enhancing the learning abilities of their students and positive relations to encourage excellence. Therefore, it is advisable to adopt a policy that allows students to expose their differences to others while adhering to strict dressing regulations to avoid the introduction of gang-related attire and inappropriate dressing in the case of female students. Embracing one’s and others’ differences is critical to their social well-being and prosperity. Therefore, allowing students to express how they feel and who they are using their dress code can teach them to respect others and welcome diversity. Nevertheless, since high dressing standards can encourage students to focus on academics, it is necessary to set rules and regulations that prevent them from wearing distracting fashion elements and informal dressing that can cause issues with other students. This solution can allow educational institutions to instill the values of diversity in society while reaping the benefits of attire designed for learning environments.
The modern world is characterized by communities where people share several common features but also have notable differences. Therefore, educators should design learning environments in a way that does not limit students’ interactions and comfort. Nevertheless, these environments should also support identifying and reconciling with individuals’ diversity. Therefore, instead of arguing about whether to completely abolish or reinstate uniforms in educational institutions, educators and policymakers should compromise and allow students to wear what they desire but in a controlled environment. In the long run, both students and teachers will benefit as they will learn the value of people’s differences and how to co-exist with each other in a diverse environment by exhibiting certain levels of uniformity with others.
The Rogerian model of arguing enables students to identify different opinions in discussions and the main stance. Therefore, it is essential because it sheds light on broad issues under the topics and provides reasons for individuals’ preferences. Acknowledging two sides of an argument is a good practice because it allows for brainstorming and identifying why each side is inclined toward supporting their ideas. Hence, I will occasionally use this technique in my argumentative essays because it will allow me to come up with better points and take a stronger position based on reliable evidence.
Anderson, W. (2002). School dress codes and uniform policies. Policy Report. Web.
Deane, S. (2015). Dressing diversity: Politics of difference and the case of school uniforms. Philosophical Studies in Education, 46, 111-120. Web.