Would mandating a school dress code increase students' academic performance?

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Would mandating a school dress code increase students' academic performance?

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A majority of teachers agreed that a school dress code would increase academic performance, although the results weren't overwhelming. Dress codes or school uniforms have long been the domain of private schools. Many parents like the idea because they know their children will be dressed appropriately every day and they have less worry about buying that expensive pair of jeans. Most students hate the idea. Wearing the same as everyone else leaves no room for individual expression and besides, they always seem to be very formal outfits with skirts for the girls and ties and jackets for the boys.

The whole idea behind school uniforms or universal dress codes is to take the element of personal expression out of the clothes and put it into the school work. This makes sense from an academic point of view, but the reality is that not all students are academically minded. Making those students wear the same clothes as the straight A student next to them will not make them A students themselves.

Some proponents of school dress codes point to the fact that with everyone dressed the same there is less distraction for members of the opposite sex. Teenage boys won't be watching the girls in miniskirts walking by instead of studying for math. Don't kid yourself. Anyone who has attended private school knows that there are many ways to alter the uniform but still stay within the general guidelines. Boys wear their ties knotted loosely or roll up the sleeves of their jackets. Shirts are untucked and left open at the collar. Girls roll their skirts at the waist to make them shorter or tie their shirts at the bottom to expose their navels.

The biggest benefit in favor of school dress codes are that they lessen the chance of someone being marginalized due specifically to the type of clothes they wear. Most of the time schools will order uniforms from specialized sources so everyone gets their clothes from the same place. Whether you buy your clothes from the local department store or the trendy brand name establishment ceases to be an issue. However, if one of your students always comes to school with pants too short because his parents can't afford new clothes, the same scenario is going to happen with uniforms as well. Dress codes don't solve all the problems but they might help alleviate some of them.

We should probably have a nationwide referendum to decide whether to implement dress codes or not. If we decide to let the students vote, however, there is probably no point in holding the referendum at all. A win for the "no" side seems like a foregone conclusion.