The Instigator
Warabe
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Numidious
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Mandatory School Uniforms are beneficial to schooling

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Numidious
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/3/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,687 times Debate No: 29815
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Warabe

Pro

I realize now that the argument I wanted to use for my previous shool uniform debate doesn't actually apply under my resolution. So rather than go through the awkwardness of saying that in the debate and hoping for a tie, I decided to create a new resolution to boost the number of debates I participate in during my membership.

Resolved: Mandatory School Uniforms are beneficial to schooling

Now has come the time for definitions to be had:

Mandatory: necessary, compulsory

School Uniforms: outfits mandated by the school to apply to all same-gendered students alike, that is unique to each school.

Beneficial: do more good than harm

Schooling: the act of learning from a school system's curriculum. This can take multiple different forms, whether social or academic.

The first round shall be for acceptance by my opponent. Second round shall be for case positions only, meaning my opponent may not refute my case during that round. From there, all arguments, whether refutation or reconstruction, are valid and permissible. I merely ask that the final round include no new arguments.

The burden of proof for this debate will be shared between myself and my opponent. I must defend a case where the uniforms are beneficial and my opponent must advocate for a case proving that they are, indeed, detrimental.

I now await an opponent.
Numidious

Con

Hello there...

I'd like to accept your proposition and I look forward to an interesting debate! I am fortunate to live in a part of the world (British Columbia Canada) where uniforms are not mandatory and liberty and individuality are embraced rather than shoved to the side in favour of strict regimen, which is too often the case in English speaking first world countries.

My mum had to suffer through 12 years of uniforms and private school, and her brother was not permitted to go to his final exams in his Grade 12 year - because he wasn't in uniform. This had a very negative effect in his life and so I have personal reasons (although they are, of course, not fair game) as well as rational reasons to be strongly against the use of uniforms in schools.

If my school instituted uniforms tomorrow, I would voluntarily drop out. The same goes for metal detectors on entrance and other effort to compromise the liberty of students in a school. Now you know where I stand, let the debate begin!
Debate Round No. 1
Warabe

Pro

I thank my opponent for his verbose acceptance. While I grieve for his personal struggles on this topic as much as the next person, I would ask him to keep things empyrically and analytically relevant so as to keep personal biases out of a place they hold no quarter in: an academic debate. With that being said, I will now state my case.

My case is fairly short and simple, yet effective and persuasive. School uniforms make the school environment a safer, more cohesive, and effective environment for education.

I would like to start off by noting that statistically, crime is rampant in schools. 3 million kids every year are victims to crime in schools, 2 million of which are violent.[1]

The solution, at least in part, is simple: school uniforms are statistically lowering crime in schools. The year following the institution of school uniforms in Long Beach, California, "overall school crime decreased 36 percent. Fights decreased 51 percent, sex offenses decreased 74 percent, weapons offenses decreased 50 percent, assault and battery offenses decreased 34 percent, and vandalism decreased 18 percent."[1]

Pretty clear cut.

While some may question the affordability of such measures in a monetary sense, even that isn't an issue. School assistance is always possible[1], and graduating students can always sell back or donate their used uniforms to not only re-coup what they spent on the uniforms, but also to ensure that everyone has access to a uniform[1].

Also, expert analysis of the effects of school uniforms agrees that not only are the statistics valid, but it goes much deeper than that in terms of benefits. Gavin de Becker[2], one of the leading experts on predicting and managing violence, notes that "Dress codes and uniforms can make school more about the learning and less about the symbolic individual expression of fashion. Students are left to communicate through language as opposed to clothing, style, designer names, bandanas, or gang colors. Dress codes help make everyone a student, as opposed to some kids being rich, some being tough, or anti-this, or pro-that. It is unifying-as the word uniform implies. Other places young people visit will still allow personal expression through fashion, but just as some professions wear business attire, and police, nurses, and firefighters wear uniforms, the school uniform is emblematic of what one does. At school, kids are there to be students."

This allows students to leave school and be better prepared to have success in the workforce on multiple levels:

Firstly, in a job scenario, there is no real choice in clothing styles; you wear the clothes that fit in the dress code your employers get you, or you get sent home for the day, or worse fired. Acceptance, perhaps even willingness, to follow this would be a good starting point from which to earn favor with employers and have more success in the work place. Breeding this acceptance and willingness to follow dress codes would allow for this to occur.

And secondly, this allows students to focus on developing the two most important pieces of being successful in work and life: verbal communication and action, rather than fashion sense. With distinction via clothing removed, they will be focused to learn to stand out in voice and in action, which are desirable traits to many.

The case for mandatory school uniforms is clear-cut and persuasive: it cuts down on school violence and allows students to develop the skills they will need to be successful in life later on. The choice of voting is clear: the resolution is affirmed and I must urge you to vote pro.

Sources:

[1] http://www.crf-usa.org...
[2] http://life.familyeducation.com...;
Numidious

Con

I find it interesting that my opponent cautions to "keep personal bias out" when he has assumed the USA as the situation of his entire argument, in addition to citing two conservative - family values based sources. However his point is well taken.

Then my opponent brings up a set of wondrous statistics - according to him the institution of school uniforms in Long Beach, California caused "overall school crime decreased 36 percent. Fights decreased 51 percent, sex offenses decreased 74 percent, weapons offenses decreased 50 percent, assault and battery offenses decreased 34 percent, and vandalism decreased 18 percent."

This would be great - if it was because of the school uniforms. It wasn't. Several educational professionals noted that "it was curious" that school uniforms were cited as being the reason for the crime rate drop when "a $1 million grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation for the improvement of teaching methods" was entirely disregarded. Hmm, teachers vs uniforms, I wonder which could be more effective. (1)

In fact, a University of Notre Dame study conducted on the fact "belies the claims that uniforms improve discipline: Our findings indicate that student uniforms have no direct effect on . . . behavioral problems" (1)

Now my opponent excuses the cost of school uniforms, another extra cost for parents - or, as my opponent notes correctly, on the already financially burdened school system. This in addition to the cost of casual clothes, which readers will know from life experience (remember being 16) are going to be worn in lieu of uniforms at any time a student is not in school or returning home.

Gavin de Becker is yet another celebrity writer whose credibility is Oprah Winfrey. The topic he does speak to is fear in America and, especially after Sept. 11th 2001, he does it very effectively.

"Let's take Dress codes and uniforms can make school more about the learning and less about the symbolic individual expression of fashion. Students are left to communicate through language as opposed to clothing, style, designer names, bandanas, or gang colors. Dress codes help make everyone a student, as opposed to some kids being rich, some being tough, or anti-this, or pro-that. It is unifying-as the word uniform implies. Other places young people visit will still allow personal expression through fashion, but just as some professions wear business attire, and police, nurses, and firefighters wear uniforms, the school uniform is emblematic of what one does. At school, kids are there to be students."

Let us ignore a blatant disregard for individualism here. What de Becker forgot to mention is that there are plenty of ways for students to separate themselves with school uniforms on. Necklaces, hair colour, length, and a variety of other characteristics are enough to create cliques if that is what students want. Who is to say that speaking doesn't create differences between students? Far more so, in fact, than does what one is wearing. But this leads us to my main point, which is that in real life students will have to deal with people being different. Not necessarily after graduating high school either. In fact, there is no reason that things couldn't go the other way - students who have unwashed uniforms, or individuals outside of school might be treated worse because they do not have uniforms.

Individualism. This is a core and too often disregarded part of humanity. People will be different (see above) and it's up to us to show the youth of our society how to be tolerant of each other in present and future. What if students encounter a highschool dropout on the way back from school? What about people from other schools? What about weekends? Won't gang members recognize each other regardless?

This is interesting because it relates to totalitarian societies as well - anyone who even attempts to be an individual at any time is discriminated against, Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, you name it they all had uniforms and they were proud of them and anyone who didn't was evil.

This is in fact a strong argument against private schools generally - one of the main functions of school is to integrate different people in different parts of society and teach them to tolerate one another. In private schools, especially ones with uniforms, this often does not happen and it is worse with religious schools, where individuals are taught their religion and not exposed to different cultures or views of them.

As for the workplace, my opponent's entire argument is focused on the idea that A) Individuals are ALL going to go to post - secondary institutions where conformity is seen as important and B) Inhibits other forms of expression.

First of all, very few jobs are public service, so I see little relevance there - those that want to go into public service will have that mind set, but seeing as how few individuals are police/fire/ambulance see little relevance here - a minority of us will also end up wearing bandanas and playing guitar :) - should everyone in school have to because a few do?

But then we go to business, where I can make a similar argument. Small business and individual entrepreneurship are core capitalistic values, and since we're dealing with this debate in a somewhat Americentric/capitalistic way I think my opponent has undermined his own argument - the individualism that my opponent is really fighting against is very necessary in capitalism. In fact, small businesses employ at least half of all Americans (3) and someone, somewhere, some individual began those businesses and they were an individual, and those they employ may wear uniforms or, often, they may not.

My opponent has now said two contradictory statements - that clothing causes disparagement between individuals AND that it stops them from voicing opinions - which is it? Or shall we speak to the truth of the matter which is that usually nobody cares?

I say usually because clothing can represent something else - a rebellion against the norm, the kind of individualism which is, as I have mentioned, critical to capitalism and, of course, democracy. One of the few similarities between the two is that both are focused on new ideas, and clothing can be a way to represent that just as speech can. Speech is more effective, but nobody merely does not put up their hand in class and question something just because of the shirt they are wearing!

This is what separates an authouritarian society from a libertarian one, a closed minded one from a productive one. If students are taught in school, through the implementation of school uniforms and various other pointless and often excessive rules introduced in school that they cannot be individuals and that that isn't important, then that is what they will believe as adults.

I despise the designer label thing as much as the next guy - uniforms won't take that away, there is a life outside of school for students, where I would say they do a good part of their learning. If we teach the youth of our society that they all must conform to the same standards or be picked on by teachers and fellow students alike then they will grow up to be less interesting, less creative individuals and the economy will suffer.

One last thing - is my opponent planning on consulting students? How about parents? And if not, when does school go from being something society gives to it's younger members to being a kind of mandatory service age 7 - 16, and why make it seem more that way when many already think that way?

Given the evidence, as well as the fact that in viewing and voting on this rational debate our viewers have already shown that they believe in individualism and individual thought, I urge them to vote against.

1) http://www.gate.net...
2) http://www.barnesandnoble.com...
3) http://usgovinfo.about.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Warabe

Pro

Warabe forfeited this round.
Numidious

Con

My opponent's luck has failed him and the timer ran out before he could post his reply. In honour of this, and also seeing as I made the mistake of posting criticisms rather than initial arguments, we shall call it even and (assuming my opponent agrees) debate back and forth from now on, I may introduce several new points during round four but round five will remain a matter of final defenses and reiterations with no new points.

Any criticisms of my opponent's arguments may be found in round 2.
Debate Round No. 3
Warabe

Pro

Warabe forfeited this round.
Numidious

Con

It would seem that my opponent has missed another round. I believe that my points still stand.
Debate Round No. 4
Warabe

Pro

Warabe forfeited this round.
Numidious

Con

Alas, my opponent has been unable to provide another response. I do assume that this is because of external factors but at the same time I also urge voters to vote on what they have seen, essentially what we have is an argument and a refutation.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Warabe 4 years ago
Warabe
That sounds like a fine deal. I appreciate the leniency.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
That's fine - we've both made some mistakes so we'll call it even... I'll cite my previous round for this coming round so that after that we can debate evenly back and forth - essentially we've both missed one (in my case initial points, in your case initial criticisms) so we'll just debate back and forth from there.
Posted by Warabe 4 years ago
Warabe
.-. So I totally had typed it up and hit post and it said I forfeited....
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Alas, I oversaw that rule, and I apologize. However I did make a few points that were not related to your arguments - pretty much every other paragraph in the second half is an argument of my own I think you will find...
Posted by Warabe 4 years ago
Warabe
I must ask, is there an argument you made that was not a refutation to my case? Since I stated in the first round that the second round was for case positions only, your refutations won't technically exist until you reference them in the next round.
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Sorry my argument was so long - only it seemed that there was plenty to say
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
Hmm five rounds we're looking at a long debate...
Posted by Numidious 4 years ago
Numidious
I hope I don't come across as harsh - I had little space for politeness but I would like to thank you for an excellent presentation of your arguments
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Subutai 4 years ago
Subutai
WarabeNumidiousTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.