Uniforms are gaining popularity and are entering the public school space. It is easy to assume that all private schools wear uniforms, but do they?
In 2011-2012 the percentage of private schools that required uniforms for both elementary school and secondary school was 56.9%. Uniforms are more popular in elementary schools, and they are favored among school administrators. Parents both like and dislike uniforms, but see the benefits overall.
The majority of private schools wear uniforms, but not all. If you are sending your kid to a private school, it makes sense that you would have a choice of a school with or without uniforms because everyone has a preference.
Why Don’t All Private Schools Require Uniforms?
Private schools receive funding from tuition, which parents pay for each kid that attends the school. There is no government funding for those schools, so they have more funding and opportunity for the students. With the funding, they can have more teachers, more school supplies, and amazing amenities at school. They can have a pool for swimming P.E. or for after-school sports, they can have a nicer well-kept school ground and they can have nicer equipment in their gym. Overall, walking into a private school is very different from walking into a public school. (Source)
There are differences between private schools too, not just between private and public schools. Each will offer a great education, but there are some rules that are seen as positive or negative by parents. For instance, some schools will require uniforms, and others won’t. This is because parents fund the school, so they can be an influence on the rules. now, it isn’t one parent complaining to a school administrator and getting rules changed, it is during school meetings where many parents say the same thing.
So, if enough parents say the same thing then the school will accommodate the change or provide reasoning to the parents about why the rule is there. There are also private schools that have different rules regarding uniforms because not all parents want the same thing. Some parents are against uniforms because it prevents students from having freedom of expression and being able to feel good in the clothes they choose. But, others like the benefits of uniforms and prefer their kids to go to a school with them.
There are 56.9% of private schools that have uniforms, so the majority of private schools do prefer uniforms. But, there are also schools without uniforms for those parents that prefer it. The number is fairly consistent as well. In the 2003-2004 school year, 55.5% of private schools required uniforms, and in 2007-2008 it was 55.4%. So, the number has been pretty steady, with a small increase. So, today we can predict that the number would be slightly bigger. (Source)
What Percent of Public Schools Require Uniforms?
In 2017-2018, the percentage of public schools that required uniforms was 20%. So, uniforms are gaining popularity among public schools as well as private schools. Public schools are allowed to require uniforms, but most don’t because it takes one less worry off of parents’ shoulders. It can give students freedom of expression, so instead of uniforms, many public schools prefer to enforce a dress code. (Source)
Public schools also get their funding from the government, so they only need to require what the government says. The government does not require uniforms, rather they require that all students follow the dress code and be appropriate at school. If the majority of parents in a school district wanted to change the policy and have all students wear uniforms, then they would need to go to the district and state their case.
It is more favored in public schools to wear what you want, but if students disregard the dress code so much that the school can’t enforce rules, then a school district might consider introducing uniforms. So, for all those students who are in public school and like wearing their choice of clothes, be respectful and follow the rules set in place so that the choice of clothes you wear is not taken away.
What are the Benefits of School Uniforms?
There are many benefits of uniforms, but they are not going to solve every issue students face at school. They can decrease bullying, but there are still people who will be bully’s and who will get bullied. So with every benefit, there is still a negative or an issue that needs other forms of problem-solving to be fixed. (Source)
One benefit is that teachers can easily enforce the dress code, whereas, without uniforms, teachers need to be on the lookout for any of the rules being broken. But, when all the students wear the same thing, it is easier to see an untucked shirt and other little things that are outside the dress code. The school can be overall more well-behaved because it is harder to get away with disobeying rules.
The biggest con with uniforms is that it takes away from students’ individuality. Kids and teenagers love to express themselves, and clothes are one way to form an identity and become their own unique personality. With uniforms, students can feel stifled, irritated, and annoyed at the rules of the dress code. Students will want to disregard the rules, but when everyone wears the same thing it is hard to get away with breaking the dress code.
one thing some schools do to help balance this is to allow students to have free dress on certain days. This is on holidays, before a break, at the end of the school year, or on Fridays so that students can start their weekend in their own fun clothes. The clothing needs to still follow the dress code guidelines, but it does not have to be their uniform. This rule works well in the schools that have it. Students are able to have days throughout the school year that they can look forward to planning their own outfits, and staff can give students and parents a balance of uniforms and no uniforms.