School Uniforms

Argument Writing Research Topic

School uniforms remain a controversial issue in the nation's schools. Studies done to measure performance with and without uniforms have had mixed results. Since states do not track statistics on school uniforms, the exact number of school districts with uniform policies is unknown. However, a survey conducted in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 20% of public and private elementary schools and 10% of high schools sampled had mandatory uniform rules. Uniform policies are generally more likely to be found in schools with large numbers of low-income and/or minority students. Proponents of school uniforms say uniforms reduce common problems like theft and fighting and allow administrators to easily identify intruders or outsiders. Supporters add that uniforms may also improve grades by enabling students to focus more on academic performance, reduce disciplinary problems, create unity and remove class distinctions, and are more affordable than expensive designer labels. Those opposed to mandatory uniforms say uniforms infringe upon students' First Amendment right to freedom of expression, stifle creativity and individualism, and place an unfair financial burden on low-income families. Some argue that simply having dress code rules can achieve many of the same benefits of uniforms.