The Instigator
Renascor
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
Deziky
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Should students be required to have uniforms?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,129 times Debate No: 19347
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

Renascor

Pro

I feel that it would be beneficial to make it a requirement that students wear uniforms while at school.
Deziky

Con

First, I would like to thank Renascor for an interesting debate topic that, as a high school student, personally affects me. Hopefully this debate teaches each of us, as well as any potential viewers, a thing or two about the fine line between freedom of expression and abuse of rights.

As a brief map for my framework, I will first offer a thesis that will sum up the main point and impact of my argument, and I will proceed to offer my various arguments against uniformed dress codes at schools in the form of contentions, which are assertions made in an argument.

My thesis is that requiring students (presumably K-12 grade-level) to subscribe to school uniforms ultimately stifles expression and does not encourage academic progress in any sense.

Contention: School uniforms have virtually no impact on the overall conduct of students, and thus their real purpose is disproven. In a scientific study conducted by David L. Brunsma of the University of Alabama and Kerry A. Rockquemore of the University of Notre Dame, a national sample of eighth grade students from 1988 were tracked in their academic careers through college, taking note of a variety of factors, including whether or not school the students wore uniforms. After comparing data, the only positive factor that seemed to have increased in the "uniform" pool compared to the average was in the area of standardized testing, wherein the correlation coefficient was 0.05, which is a very slight difference and likely one of happenstance. Other than that, there was either no effect or negative effect for each factor compared to wearing school uniforms.
We can assume that the primary purpose of school uniforms is to foster communal development and set higher standards for children, but if it has been found that there is no impact on substance abuse, behavioral problems, attendance, etc. then that negates the purpose of a uniform. The study found that it is (to no surprise) economic and social factors mainly outside the students' schools that determined their overall academic performance.

Contention: Implementing school uniforms neglects and distracts from the real reasons students perform poorly, and only serve as fruitless reassurance in the schools' and parents' mind that there is somehow value in them. From a later 2006 article by the aforementioned David Brunsma, School Uniform Policies in Public Schools, he says,
"...school uniforms, as a policy and strategy, do not play a role in producing more parental involvement, increased preparedness, positive approaches toward learning, pro-school attitudes, a heightened feeling of school unity and safety, or positive school climates. Therefore, such a policy should not be touted as increasing the educational atmosphere at any level of schooling."

It is thus established that school uniforms simply serve as false hope when one claims that school uniforms are somehow beneficial on any level. In fact, school uniforms serve to distract from the true evaluation of a school and they do absolutely nothing to encourage the behavior that would encourage higher academic performance (such as the ones cited by Brunsma). In this sense, a uniform policy is detrimental to a school environment, as it serves as simply a distractor. Since I have thus proven that uniforms do nothing, and may even be detrimental, to the community as a whole, I shall address the individual student in my next contention.

Contention: Uniform dress codes are counterproductive in the sense that they discourage exactly what schools should be promoting: having each individual student think for him- or herself. In the article School Uniforms that was written by Julia Wilkins on behalf of the American Humanist Assocation, she cites a "benefit" from the list of benefits that the Manual on School Uniforms provided as "Instilling students with discipline." However, she makes the point:

"If instilling discipline is the aim, then it makes sense to follow the lead of the two most discipline-instilling institutions: prisons and the military. Of course, if the aim is to teach students to be able to think for themselves and acquire the skills needed to direct their own behavior based on informed choices and personal decision-making (something prohibited in both prisons and the military), then maybe we should reconsider."

The American educational system should foster unfettered thought, and students should have an open ability to express themselves reasonably in a way that does not infringe upon the other students' rights, and Wilkins understands that we are not the prison or the military. We should be teaching students right and wrong, not enforcing arbitrary authority over them by forcing them to wear the same clothes every day.


In conclusion of my argument, students should be allowed to express themselves, because stifling their expression certainly does not help matters in the situation of poor academic performance, and encourages a significant rift to split open between the students and the authority, creating a further "Us-Vs.-Them" environment.

The burden of proof is now put upon my opponent to provide reasons as to why school uniforms are beneficial, and elaborate further than, "I feel that it would be beneficial to make it a requirement that students wear uniforms while at school."

Thank you.




Sources
http://www.members.tripod.com...

http://www.knowledge-media.com...
http://vonsteuben.enschool.org...


Debate Round No. 1
Renascor

Pro

Thank you for excepting my debate. I hope you will be satisfied with my responses and will look upon them with an open mind.

Because I like the format of a contention, and because your initial argument is in this style, I too will use this format with respect to my opponent and the debate itself.

I will provide a formulated rebuttal first, and then I will initiate a contentional issue map which should do well in allowing me to illustrate the burden of proof.

Response to your first contention:

You stated that " School uniforms have virtually no impact on the overall conduct of students, and thus their real purpose is disproved. "

This statement is based entirely on a study you submitted as evidence. You never stated what the "negatives" were, and you also failed to mention what exactly the differences were, and therefore, presented no real evidence.

Response to your second contention:

You stated that " Implementing school uniforms neglects and distracts from the real reasons students perform poorly, and only serve as fruitless reassurance in the schools' and parents' mind that there is somehow value in them. "

It would be immature to say that implementing school uniforms would "neglect and distract" from the true reason students perform poorly. Part of the reason students perform poorly at school is because of the distractions caused by the way they dress. I will elaborate in my own contentions.

Response to your third contention:


You stated that: " Uniform dress codes are counterproductive in the sense that they discourage exactly what schools should be promoting: having each individual student think for him- or herself. "

The first thing we need to note is that we are addressing student uniforms and not dress codes because dress codes are very different from school uniforms. Second, we need to note that what you wear does not represent where you stand mentally. I also should point out that thinking for your self and what you wear are irrelevant to one another and do not correlate properly. The "K-12" students enrolled in public schools are enrolled for one purpose, to learn. What they wear at school can help to hinder or distract others on many different grounds such as socio-economic status, pride (the way others regard him or her), and/or sexual enticements. With these elements present, it becomes much harder to actually accomplish the sole purpose of school, which is to teach.

Thesis counter:

In your Thesis you made the following statement " My thesis is that requiring students (presumably K-12 grade-level) to subscribe to school uniforms ultimately stifles expression and does not encourage academic progress in any sense. " School uniforms in no way stifle academic progress. Academic progress would in fact be upheld due to the attention that could be focused on school as opposed as to what a student is wearing. Also, school is not a place of expression, it is a place of learning.


My Argument to establish the Burden of Proof:
Thesis -
School Uniforms level the playing field by taking the concentration off of what an individual is wearing and direct the focus on what is trying to be learned.

Major Contention:

My major contention is that many children become divided from other children due to what they wear. Some children are divided by brand name clothing, some are divided by the style of clothing, some are identified by certain clothing (such as in a gang), and some children are judged on the basis of clothing. It is first to notice the importance of division at school. To be divided causes you to feel uncomfortable and your mind to wonder and focus on your self appearance. Being divided can cause mental stress on a person and therefore, can cause a lacking performance to be shown in school.

Minor Contention:

My Minor Contention is that school uniforms help to give children a sense of self respect. This tactic is used by the militaries of many different countries. It shows how all are equal and no one single person is better than another. This is important in helping a child to learn.

Conclusion:

I chose not to elaborate on both of my contentions because I felt that they each were self explanatory. In conclusion however, school uniforms are beneficial in the fact that they help to remove distractions and they help to instill respect.

I look forward to your rebuttal and I thank you for your time.
Deziky

Con

To begin, I am sorry to say that I may not be able to participate in the third round because of unforseen family events, so if I can not make a final rebuttal, I apologize.

As a guideline for any viewers, I will first be addressing my opponent's attack on my arguments, then I will form a rebuttal against his arguments.

In response to my first contention, you say, "This statement is based entirely on a study you submitted as evidence. You never stated what the 'negatives' were, and you also failed to mention what exactly the differences were, and therefore, presented no real evidence."

I quite clearly provided evidence that supported my contention that school uniforms have no impact on academic or environmental improvement through the evidence, as that is exactly what the study concluded about uniforms. My burden of proof was not to find out what the "differences" and the "negatives" were in the study (I am not quite sure what is meant by these or what you are is seeking), it was to prove that uniforms do not help in any way that it is thought they do help, which I quite clearly prove.

In your response to my second contention, you state, "It would be immature to say that implementing school uniforms would 'neglect and distract' from the true reason students perform poorly. Part of the reason students perform poorly at school is because of the distractions caused by the way they dress."

It is not at all immature to say that school uniforms can sometimes serve as distractors. This is very evident in schools located in urban ghettos, where school administration will attempt to enforce a uniform policy when their school is performing extremely poorly for the sake of not looking as bad as they really are. Especially in impoverished schools, uniforms serve as a fruitless way of seeming to maintain some degree of order. While this is not true in every case, the fact has at least some relevancy, and we must analyze all aspects of its impact in order to assess the benefits of an institution.
There is no way to determine if student performance is enhanced or curtailed by the freedom students are given in their choice of clothing, and your argument provides absolutely no warrant or evidence as to why anyone should believe that.

Allow me to dissect various statements made against my third contention, so as to optimally address these attacks.
"The first thing we need to note is that we are addressing student uniforms and not dress codes because dress codes are very different from school uniforms." By "uniform dress codes," I meant dress codes that enforced a single uniform. I did not stray into the territory of general dress codes, as I do agree that that is largely a very different issue.
"Second, we need to note that what you wear does not represent where you stand mentally. I also should point out that thinking for your self and what you wear are irrelevant to one another and do not correlate properly." It is unclear why you are referring to a student's mental stance in correlation to what they wear. I assume that by this, you mean that what students wear do not signify their individual characters, in which case I argue that clothes aren't an expression of a person's mentality, but that students should wear what they optimally find suiting to themselves. There is also no warrant for the second claim of a non-correlation between individual thought and what a person wears, so that point can be ignored.
"What they wear at school can help to hinder or distract others on many different grounds such as socio-economic status, pride (the way others regard him or her), and/or sexual enticements. With these elements present, it becomes much harder to actually accomplish the sole purpose of school, which is to teach." Clothes do not make socio-economic status immediately evident, and in the case that it does, there is no warrant as to how this would hinder or distract anybody's educational experience. The factor of "pride" in the sense that you use it will always be present in schools, and while clothes occasionally factor into how others regard each other, eliminating variation in clothing will only redirect focus on other methods of regard. That is how the social spectrum works. "Sexual enticement"can simply be taken care of by a dress code that restricts lewd or suggestive clothing articles. Furthermore, one may claim that the sole purpose of school is to obtain and education, school is an institution that is ingrained within students, and serves as the primary vehicle of developing communication and real-world social interaction. School uniforms deny students of a portion of this development.


In your attack on my thesis you say, "School uniforms in no way stifle academic progress. Academic progress would in fact be upheld due to the attention that could be focused on school as opposed as to what a student is wearing. Also, school is not a place of expression, it is a place of learning."
I did not say in my thesis that uniforms stifle academic progress, I said that they stifle expression and do nothing to encourage academic progress. Your second claim competely ignores my study that explicity concludes that academic progress is not upheld by means of school uniform, so my evidence outweighs that claim. Finally, as I said earlier, school is a place to learn and to foster social skills (or at least, they should, considering the amount of time students are in school), and social interaction and development is encouraged through freedom of expression.

Moving on to my opponents arguments:

In my opponent's thesis he states, "School Uniforms level the playing field by taking the concentration off of what an individual is wearing and direct the focus on what is trying to be learned." First, I would like to know in what regards school uniforms "level the playing field." Assuming my opponent means that attention to clothing is no longer an issue, I have already proved that that is irrelevant because students will still find ways of regard and judgment. Through my evidence and evaluation, I have already shown that focus is not "directed" at learning through eliminating diversity in clothes. My opponent is overestimating student predisposition to distraction, and while I hate to use personal experience in a debate, I can say that student dress has not infringed on the educational process at any point for me or other students.

For the sake of character limits I will no longer directly quote my opponent. His major contention is flawed because he fails to realize that student "division" is inevitable, and removing clothing options will not stop or even hinder the process. Only in an ideal society do people flow from one person to the other with no prejudice, and my opponent is arguing a flawed ideal view of people, especially young students. Since this operates on a subconscious level, I fail to see how it can deeply disturb students and make them self-conscious enough to distract them from performance, because uniforms will not eliminate other factors of self-consciousness (weight, hair, looks, etc.) from their minds, not to mention I have already disproven any increase or decrease in performance.

My opponent's minor contention is firstly using a ridiculous comparison of the school system to foreign militaries. Militaries and schools are such different institutions that this would require a whole other debate to discuss all the flaws in comparing them. Schools exist to foster free thinkers, militaries exist to foster fighters and soldiers. Uniforms do not show that students are equal (equal in what regards, by the way?), as students will never percieve everybody as their equal just because they wear the same uniform. This method of thinking does not at all regard the students' nuances in thinking and skill, either

Also, since my opponent chose not to elaborate based on "self-explanatory" reasoning, my argument is thus much stronger and better upholds my points.











Debate Round No. 2
Renascor

Pro

Thank you for your response! If you are unable to continue, I have enjoyed this debate, and I thank you for participating as long as you have.

Now then, I will provide a counter to my opponents defensive arguments and then defend my very own arguments.

You stated "
In response to my first contention, you say, "This statement is based entirely on a study you submitted as evidence. You never stated what the 'negatives' were, and you also failed to mention what exactly the differences were, and therefore, presented no real evidence."

I quite clearly provided evidence that supported my contention that school uniforms have no impact on academic or environmental improvement through the evidence, as that is exactly what the study concluded about uniforms. My burden of proof was not to find out what the "differences" and the "negatives" were in the study (I am not quite sure what is meant by these or what you are is seeking), it was to prove that uniforms do not help in any way that it is thought they do help, which I quite clearly prove.
"

I must say. If you refer to your introduction of this argument, you will find that you never mentioned anything negative about school uniforms.

Next you made the following statement:

" In your response to my second contention, you state, "It would be immature to say that implementing school uniforms would 'neglect and distract' from the true reason students perform poorly. Part of the reason students perform poorly at school is because of the distractions caused by the way they dress."

It is not at all immature to say that school uniforms can sometimes serve as distractors. This is very evident in schools located in urban ghettos, where school administration will attempt to enforce a uniform policy when their school is performing extremely poorly for the sake of not looking as bad as they really are. Especially in impoverished schools, uniforms serve as a fruitless way of seeming to maintain some degree of order. While this is not true in every case, the fact has at least some relevancy, and we must analyze all aspects of its impact in order to assess the benefits of an institution.
There is no way to determine if student performance is enhanced or curtailed by the freedom students are given in their choice of clothing, and your argument provides absolutely no warrant or evidence as to why anyone should believe that. "

I must mention that I said it is immature to suggest that school uniforms neglect and distract school functions.

Thirdly you stated "Allow me to dissect various statements made against my third contention, so as to optimally address these attacks.
"The first thing we need to note is that we are addressing student uniforms and not dress codes because dress codes are very different from school uniforms." By "uniform dress codes," I meant dress codes that enforced a single uniform. I did not stray into the territory of general dress codes, as I do agree that that is largely a very different issue.
"Second, we need to note that what you wear does not represent where you stand mentally. I also should point out that thinking for your self and what you wear are irrelevant to one another and do not correlate properly." It is unclear why you are referring to a student's mental stance in correlation to what they wear. I assume that by this, you mean that what students wear do not signify their individual characters, in which case I argue that clothes aren't an expression of a person's mentality, but that students should wear what they optimally find suiting to themselves. There is also no warrant for the second claim of a non-correlation between individual thought and what a person wears, so that point can be ignored.
"What they wear at school can help to hinder or distract others on many different grounds such as socio-economic status, pride (the way others regard him or her), and/or sexual enticements. With these elements present, it becomes much harder to actually accomplish the sole purpose of school, which is to teach." Clothes do not make socio-economic status immediately evident, and in the case that it does, there is no warrant as to how this would hinder or distract anybodies educational experience. The factor of "pride" in the sense that you use it will always be present in schools, and while clothes occasionally factor into how others regard each other, eliminating variation in clothing will only redirect focus on other methods of regard. That is how the social spectrum works. "Sexual enticement"can simply be taken care of by a dresscode that restricts lewd or suggestive clothing articles. Furthermore, one may claim that the sole purpose of school is to obtain and education, school is an institution that is ingrained within students, and serves as the primary vehicle of developing communication and real-world social interaction. School uniforms deny students of a portion of this development. "

My rebuttal against this is simple. If you refer to my original assertions, I will carry them over as they are still very much valid. And of little concern to this argument as a whole.

As a rebuttal to your thesis, I should hold steady that school is not a place of expression and that your study never stated anything substantial about the learning ability in regard to school uniforms.

In regard to my opponents attack on my own arguments:

My opponent has again used his his faulty study as evidence. The remainder of my opponents arguments can be summarized as challenges based on opinion. Military and school are very two very different institutions, but in regard to uniforms, they are very much the same. Lastly my opponent has taken my statement out of context. Because I assumed my last statements were "self-explanatory" I see I must elaborate. School uniforms allow students to become equal and give the students the basics of self respect. School uniforms allow students to feel equal and to focus on other things, such as, learning.

I look forward to my opponents defense if he is able to. If not, I thank you for your time.


Deziky

Con

Deziky forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Renascor 5 years ago
Renascor
Hahaha Izbo, you didn't think I already knew that? This entire debate was void. It was only for the right to vote. But since you have taken a liking to my debate, I challenge you to vote against me on all my debates and I will in turn expose you for the sham you are. Izbo, your a true disgrace to debate.org, voting against me only because you didn't like MY nonbiased votes. You will see much more of me izbo. This I promise.
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
renascor, I didnt read the debate which means I had a far greater understanding of what was going on when I voted here, then you did when you voted on my debate about the ontological argument.
Posted by seanybum 5 years ago
seanybum
Of course school uniforms have a huge impact on overall conduct of a student.

The deciding factor is whether you want to choose between discipline or 'this is cool and fashionable'.
When you give students free reign it becomes a contest.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
RenascorDezikyTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: conduct pro because of the FF, Grammar to pro cause I read it, argument pro, but con could have won if she/he posted on the 3rd round, and scorces to pro because I am counter boming izbo there because he didnt read it as it seems to me.
Vote Placed by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
RenascorDezikyTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: i don't see how pro did anything to win this debate