Uniforms benefit students

Nothing like years of recession, and irritating commercials for back-to-school clothing to reinforce the excellent idea of requiring students to wear uniforms in our public schools. Add years of disappointing test scores, and increasing violence and bullying in schools to that list.

Many school districts across the country have instituted uniforms since the mid-1990s, to resounding success and support from parents, teachers and students. It’s time for Washington schools to add this sound educational practice, rather than leaving it up to parents and PTAs at individual schools to push for a wardrobe change. Which is exactly what parents did at Whittier Elementary in the Everett School District, which introduced uniforms 16 years ago, the same year President Clinton endorsed the idea in a speech. Whittier is a model of how and why uniforms work.

First and foremost, school uniforms bridge the socioeconomic gap between students. They set a professional tone for learning, and help students’ self-esteem. (Schools provide financial assistance and/or free uniforms for families who qualify. Whittier regularly holds gently-used-uniform sales.) Suffice it to say, uniforms make getting dressed in the morning easier for parents and students.

Schools in California and elsewhere that have adopted uniforms report less truancy, gang and drug activity. They report more order and better behavior in the classrooms, creating environments more conducive to learning.

For those who still don’t believe in the benefits, consider the power of the athletic uniform, in which we happily outfit our students in full regalia for competition. The loyalty created simply by wearing “purple and gold,” for example, is powerful. Academic achievers these days wear letter jackets like the jocks do. The cheerleaders, the drill team, and band members all sport uniforms, proud members of their group, representing the bigger organization of the school.

So what’s wrong then with an academic uniform? Why not help foster this sense of belonging, and sense of being dressed for success, in every student, for the extremely important role of being a student?

Critics who argue school uniforms crimp our youngsters’ self-expression or individuality are mistaken that wearing attention-getting T-shirt slogans or droopy pants are examples of “non-conformity.” Please. Part of school is learning that self-expression and individuality come from within.

Athletes all wear the same uniform, but we celebrate the individuals who make up the team. Their personalities and skills shine through their performance, hindered not at all by wearing the same jerseys. The same pertains to academic uniforms.

What school couldn’t use more cohesion, more teamwork, and a greater sense of readiness to tackle the educational tasks at hand, together?

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Friday, March 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cathlamet, the Washington State Ferry that crashed in Seattle last month, sits at the Port of Everett on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The ferry will require extensive repairs after a hard landing crumpled one corner of the boat at the Fauntleroy dock on July 28. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: State needs quicker route for its new ferries

‘Build in Washington’ can be scraped as a mandate, while still counting benefits of in-state shipyards.

Department of Natural Resources regional manager Allen McGuire, left, and acting bolder unit forester Tyson Whiteid, right, stand next to marker on land recently purchased by the DNR for timber harvest on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 in Gold Bar, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Use state forestlands to ‘farm’ carbon credits

Legislation would allow the DNR to sell carbon offsets to fund reforestation and other climate work.

Getty Images, sundial
Editorial: Indifference risks loss of access to public records

Members of the state’s Sunshine Committee are questioning how much others value its work.

Schwab: Trump’s GOP defenders get busy in face of Stormy weather

While assuring no one is ‘under the law,’ Trump’s excuse team are already obfuscating and misdirecting.

Kids can pass along environmental lessons to adults

What a great article by Julie Titone reegarding climate change education! (“Amid… Continue reading

Make climate investments from carbon credit auction count

Washington’s landmark cap-and-invest program has begun to generate revenue through its first… Continue reading

Fox News is selling its viewers on a fantasy

Neither Stormy Daniels nor any of her colleagues in the sex industry… Continue reading

Comment: Arkansas makes it easier to hire kids at slaughterhouses

When teens as young as 13 were found cleaning meatpacking plants, Arkansas eased its child labor laws.

Most Read