blogged previously about uniforms and dress code, I had a compare and contrast experience this week that was interesting. On Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was interviewing students in a public school that had uniforms--dress shirts, jackets, slacks, and ties. The boys wore a traditional men's tie and the girl's wore a uniform tie. The ties did not have to be worn to the neck and many students had an open top button with a loosely tied knot. Throughout the day, there were the usual instructions from teachers and administrators to tuck in shirt tails, and roll down jacket sleeves.
This high school served inner city kids, many of whom came from struggling families. Although it is a public school, this school is a school of choice. Students and parents in Cincinnati elect to go there and must take public transportation to arrive. They draw from over 60 elementary schools and students there seem to be thriving. When we asked students to tell us what they liked about the school, high on the list was the uniform. When asked why, we heard: "I don't have to think about what I am going to wear when I wake up in the morning." "It saves my family money." "No one makes fun of anyone because of what they are wearing." "It gives you a sense of pride. The other day I was in a store and the lady at the counter knew what school I went to because I had my uniform on and she said she had gone there, too." "It makes you feel safe."
On back to back days, it was startling to hear one group of public school students lauding their uniform and then another group of students bemoaning their inability to wear tattered clothes. I'll leave it to anyone reading this (is anyone reading this?) to draw their own conclusions.