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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Once was Pro School Uniforms

Once upon a time, I believed like many parents that having school uniforms would remove the Nike and Jordache (I’m old so shut the hell up and stop laughing) mentality that some would think inserts the power of separation of the haves and have not in the educational system. If all the kids are dressed alike then the only thing they really have to focus on is education. It’s a nice thought but in reality it still will not work.

Some cities, though going broke trying to afford the dreaded number two pencils of the required American education are now going beyond the call of duty are now providing uniforms to the children of public schools. I can not make this stuff up…

School District Has Dress Code, and Is Buying the Uniforms, Too

ELIZABETH, N.J., Aug. 30 — Many public schools are supplying their students with an ever-growing list of essentials that go far beyond textbooks to include scientific calculators, personal laptops and free breakfast.

Now they are dressing them, too.

The Elizabeth school district has spent more than $2 million since January 2006 to buy navy blazers, khaki pants, polo shirts, gym shorts and even socks as part of a new policy to put all its students in uniforms.

The district, which serves mostly poor and minority families, has outfitted more than 9,000 students — nearly half its enrollment — so far as it phases in the uniforms a few schools at a time over five years to spread out the cost.

Snip - a - doodle

Here in Elizabeth, district officials said that most of their students could not have afforded to buy the uniforms. About 80 percent of the students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. Many are from immigrant families in which the parents speak limited English.

District officials said the money for the uniforms came from the district’s $400 million budget, but said that it was not taken from academics.

Snip - a - wooo

The district plans to pay for only the first set of uniforms for every student (currently 15 of the district’s 31 schools have the dress code). After that, parents and guardians become responsible for buying additional uniforms, and for making alterations or replacing lost items as needed.
- New York Times

It’s the first week of school up here in New England and four out of five of my children have brought home fund raisers for their school. List’s from teachers asking for school supplies have flooded the house from pencils to rulers, tissues, paper towels, crayons, and the list goes on from one child to the next. We do what we can because we can. Not all families can do that and put a good meal on the table every night.

Just to check the facts of the story, the majority of parents in the Elizabeth, NJ school system are from poor immigrant families? Eighty percent qualify for free lunch? Did I read that right? After the first day is Mom or Dad going to wash the uniform for every single day for the rest of the school year? Two words… Nanny State!

I have a problem with this because of the rules and regulations that will be forced down the throats of LEGAL residents working hard just to put the cheapest clothes they can afford for their kids on their backs for the school year. New clothes that parents can afford, parents know what they can budget for school clothing and this along with the private company working with the city screams of a rat in the woodpile.

Some people may be cool with this idea but I frankly have seen this in the charter school system here in Mass a two sticks and the cost to outfit your children to school prison requirements became ridiculous to the point of our children being sent home because the shoes they wore did not meet the dress code. Socks had to be the code color. Have a daughter that is a little overweight and the nightmare grows as you try to find nylons to the code. Braid the hair, forget it. It can go as far as your child wears a Cross or Star of David, it will be removed from the child or the child will be sent home. It expands against the interest of the child’s education but the working of the hive and bees that don’t fit are ostracized for non compliance to whatever code they dictate.

“Here’s your child’s uniform, You vill comply with das Fuhrer’s requirements to get your education. Failure to do so is Verboten! Achtung parent?” My German is a little rusty but you get the picture.

That is the missing part of this story from the New York Times and I am frankly amazed that they glossed over this Nanny State tactic and forced feeding of an educators opinion on what the one true people of our society have decided for the masses. Was this run by the voters of Elizabeth before it was shoved down their throats? Let me put it another way, was this run by the legal residents of Elizabeth or was this just another political hack demanding a pure race society in order to hide his real motive? What is his real motive for doing this and expending tax dollars that (Wink, Wink) are not coming out of the academic budget? I smell a male cow flatuation that may have gone to the next step in the digestive process!

Now that they have the children wearing the lock step uniform, I tend to wonder if they will have the children reporting on the parents behavior at home? Don’t be too surprised that this in fact can or will happen if you have never dealt with a family services agency of your state! Reporting on parents by the children is highly encouraged by social workers, teachers, doctors and anyone else who is in direct contact with your children. Is this reminiscent of Nazi Germany pre and during World War II or what?

Speak up America or have this perfect society crap shoved down your throats and your children’s as well. According to this story we lost the war in Europe over Nazi Germany and we became them. We just don’t see it yet because step by step it is happening and Ve Vill be assimilated into the true society.

Cross posted at Bring It On! An amazing daily read...

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Anonymous Tom said...

Is this reminiscent of Nazi Germany pre and during World War II or what?
Interesting...a few days ago people were calling John Edwards' call for mandatory preventive health care "fascist". Now school uniforms too...
Anyway, while I don't think this qualifies as "fascism" I do think it's better to let parents and children decided on clothing. I know that schools are tying to avoid the materialistic competition between children, and more seriously the gang problems that associate certain styles of clothes with certain gangs. But school uniforms seem an excessive response.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

In a time where many schools across our nation are charging the taxpayers for everything from the school bus ride to sports it strikes me funny that they can find money for uniforms?

Thanks for the comment Tom.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Matt O'Keefe said...

I support the concept of school uniforms/dress codes (generally). But I'm reluctant to have tax funds pay for them (maybe in some extreme case). Using uniform trade in's (and having a relaxed overall code) it would seem any parent could meet 'general standards'.
But my point for writing.
You question if this was put to the voter's for assent?
When were the voters ever asked about teacher salaries?, expanding the football field?, providing day care?, lunches?, sensitivity traing?, child-questionaires on their parents?, addition/subtraction of various sports?, on-and-on?
How about asking them about vouchers? Or expanding vo-technical training? Or debt limits?
Or anything (except for electing officials) about school districts. It's not even a left/right split here. Just how about a little democratic process?

12:31 PM  
Blogger student_blogger said...

It would seem that if the school district pays for uniforms/breakfast for the poorer families that it would eliminate the seperation between higher/upper class families intended in the use of school uniforms. The whole process seems rather ironic and like a huge waste of money. Is this a show to make the school district look like it's doing it job when it really isn't doing anything, other than spending large amounts of money?

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting topic. I've often thought that school uniforms would help keep focus on studies in our local schools, more so with each intensified year of outrageous dress. But after reading your post, I'm not so sure. Maybe a dress code that is updated frequently and enforced is best. Not one that dictates what colors to wear or not wear, but one that says, "Thou shalt not bare thy nether regions or undergarments." And it probably benefits kids to be around others who dress and behave differently, since this is how it will be when they've graduated. A school paying for uniforms when teachers supposedly can't be paid a wage that reflects their skill and service to society? Pffft!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

I've been kind of busy so I have not had a chance to respond or comment.

Ummm "Matt O'Keefe", must be a great guy because all of us Matthew O'Keefe's hang together. I think we have a union but I'll have to check... To answer your question Matt is that my point was whether it was put to the voters or for that matter before the city council. Two Million bucks pays alot of teachers salaries and I don't believe you just happen to find that kind of cash in the school budget. If it was, then I applaud the taxpayers for being so generous. I honestly do not believe that it was but I don't have the research to back it up.

Student Blogger,

Breakfast for the kids is mostly funded by the federal government but clothing is a local issue and I'm sure that Elizabeth is no different than your town when it comes to finding money even for the basic educational essentials.

Chell!!! I've missed ya! I don't have a problem with a dress code that is descent and respectable either. I see all five of my girls out the door each day to school and they are dressed appropriatly. Many a mornings some of the older ones had to get a ride to school because Dad was not letting them wear the latest fad. I do have a huge problem with millions of education dollars going to a private company heading up the uniform drive. Something there just does not make sense to me.

Thank you all for commenting... Please feel free to do so on any topic covered here!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Matt O'Keefe said...

Maybe (us Matt O'Keefe's should have a union) (I'm fer 'em in theory; gots my problems with them in reality).
But I get your point about asking the voters about this particular question. A great small 'd' democratic idea.
And what I was cautioning or questioning is: Is that a consistant philosophy you are espousing... or just pulling it out as an attack for use on this issue?
Now we (kinda) know.... put some stuff 'to the voters' and we'll all lose 'bi-lingual' education, maybe pre-K programs, certainly gender and alternative sensitivity training programs. And we might get back flag pledgings and such, use of corporal punishment, and severe limitations on teacher freedoms/perks.
I guess what I was getting at was--- do we want a small 'd' process for regulating school decisions; or do we want those set by school boards and/or higher levels of elected officials?
P.S. First rate site (and endorsed by all the Matt O'Keefe's I know)

8:48 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...


You can join the Matthew O'Keefe Union by voting for Papamoka over at Bloggers Choice Awards! See the link in the sidebar...

I'm honored that you enjoy the site and please come back as often as you like. Ummm but go vote for us. Did I already say that? LOL!

5:45 PM  

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