Mandating school uniforms in grades k 12
Our mandatory K-12 school uniform policy is helping us do just that.We have raised academic standards and improved student behavior throughout our 4,800-student system.
Chaired by a board member, the task force was composed of six parent volunteers, a few teachers, several principals, the superintendent, the district's communications coordinator and several high school students.When a proposed school uniform requirement was first raised in our school district, I admit some of my administrative colleagues had serious reservations.They were concerned that enforcing uniform wear by students would be burdensome and time-consuming and would not necessarily lead to significant changes in the school climate.I'm pleased to say our initial doubts have been allayed by several documented improvements that have resulted largely from our 3-year-old dress code and school uniform policy in North Chicago Community Unit School District 187.In a highly diverse school environment such as North Chicago, Ill., where more than 70 percent of the children qualify for the federal lunch program, the major challenge is to keep the focus on teaching and learning.Parents on the committee quickly endorsed the proposal.
While the educators respected that view, they raised their doubts, too, fearing they would be spending precious time enforcing the use of uniforms every day.
Over a five-month period, the task force reviewed background research and visited a Chicago elementary school where uniforms were mandatory.
A survey of all students to gather input elicited a limited response, but those who did favored the idea.
A public hearing at the high school, attended by more than 100 parents, teachers and students, brought predictable support from most parents and criticism from most students.
Task force members debated long and hard on policy specifics.
They wanted clothing that would look like a uniform while being affordable.