Showing posts with label Policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Policy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

OMG, I volunteered for the school uniform policy review committee

When I started this site a few years ago, I said that I would focus on shopping and reviews of school uniform clothing. I intended to shy away from the endless debates around uniform policies and their enforcement. I still do, but ... when I found a survey regarding school uniforms in my daughter's backpack, I couldn't help but raise my hand and volunteer on the committee being formed to review polices at her school.

I mean, how could I not? I am familiar with the national retailers in the US market knowing their standard inventory items off the top of my head. I bet I spend more time browsing websites that sell school uniforms than folks that have full time jobs in the industry.

I also follow school uniform news articles from around the world. Some report on procurement issues and manufacturing woes. Others report on the drama that always ensues when a school board debates adopting an initial uniform policy. But the most entertaining news articles are on the topic of school uniform policy enforcement.

There are three themes around school uniform policy compliance and enforcement. 1) Each year, the media interview parents to document their concerns about the cost of school uniforms that comply with policy. 2) The students protest. Girls complain (rightfully so, IMHO) about being labeled "a distraction" to boys. And the boys will inevitably organize a stunt to wear kilts or skirts when they aren't allowed to wear shorts in warm weather. And 3) school administrators will occasionally hold a mass enforcement event disciplining large groups of otherwise good kids for uniform infractions that weren't enforced or weren't consistently enforced previously. This causes some parent to complain to the media and the cycle repeats.

But I digress.

So, back to my recent experience on the school uniform policy review committee. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I found I shared the same opinions with most of the other parents in the group. All of us that volunteered for the committee strongly favored school uniforms, over not having a school uniform policy. Ours is really a student standard attire policy that allows us to shop at any retailer for standard basics like navy bottoms and white tops. The uniforms just make getting the kids out the door in the mornings SO much easier.

The policy changes that were under consideration were fairly minor tweaks. We discussed if the kids should be required to wear dress shoes on non PE days, or if we would recommend that the kids be allowed to wear sneakers every day. We discussed if all kids should be required to wear belts on pants with belt loops, or if the younger kids should be exempt. We discussed if solid navy polos and solid navy polo dresses should be allowed, verses only white polos and no polo dresses. We also discussed how hard it is to find basic solid colored shoes to comply with the policy of "mostly white, navy or black" shoes.

We then reviewed the feedback from other parents and the teachers from the survey. We found that it was fairly consistent with our thoughts. We only got one comment criticizing uniform policies as restricting of a kid's creativity. We brainstormed enforcement methods and ways the PTA can assist families and ensure all kids have access to uniform attire regardless of financial means.

We will meet one more time to finalize our recommendations to the school board. So far, it has been an interesting experience. I'll keep you posted on any further developments.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is Your School's Dress Code Sexist?

Just after Labor Day, I noticed a spike in visits to a Uniform Mom post that featured longer skirts for girls that would pass the "fingertip test".  The fingertip test is a commonly used way to determine if the length of a skirt or shorts is too short.  If a girl extends her hands down to her sides and the skirt is past her fingertips, it passes.  If it is shorter than her fingertips, it is considered too short and therefore a uniform infraction at many schools.  Sometimes, administrators make efforts at the beginning of the school year to set the tone with consistent enforcement efforts. In some cases, the school conducts some sort of mass inspection that usually results in headlines in local newspapers and on local news channels. Girls that receive warnings that their skirts are too short may be offered a change of clothes from a inventory of donated second-hand uniforms.  Other times, they may be isolated until a parent can arrive with a change of clothes that complies with code.

I thought that increase in traffic was an indication that your daughters' might be getting caught up in enforcement efforts that left you searching to find retailers that carry skirts that are long enough to pass the fingertip test. I was relieved to learn that this wasn't the case. But....

Instead, I stumbled upon a conversation regarding "slut shaming" that referenced the post.  Stelman, a writer for Addicting Info, a popular liberal blog, wrote a post that summarized recent examples of uniform policies and enforcement efforts that he found to be sexist because they selectively applied to only girls.

This lead me to a video by Laci Green, a sex education activist with a popular channel, Sex + on YouTube.  In her video on Dess Code Sexism, Laci says that the use of school dress code guidelines are not the problem, but she presents top five reasons dress code double standards are sexist. She raises many interesting points that should cause school boards and school administrators to pause and reflect on their own policies and enforcement efforts.

So what do you think? Does your school have any policies that contain these dress code double standards? Have you seen sexism in enforcement efforts or in comments by teachers or administrators? Share your thoughts or observations in the comments below.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Update on Student Standard Attire- Florida CS/HB 7043

Back in March, I told you about HB 7043, a bill making it's way through the Florida State Legislature that could make school uniforms the norm across the entire state.  The bill creates the "Students Attired for Education (SAFE) Act" which appropriates 10 million dollars from the General Appropriations for the 2015-16 school year to be allocated at up to $10 per student to Florida schools that enact a student standard attire policy in kindergarten through eighth grade. It quickly moved through the process and passed the Florida House in March with a vote of 108 to 8. 

On April 1st, it was delivered to the Florida Senate.  It was assigned to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education for review.  And this is where it sits.

The Florida State Legislators are in the home stretch of their legislative session. It remains to be seen if this bill will get picked up again for consideration.  Many bills die this way.  And this one may be no different.  However, it is a candidate to get added into another piece of legislation as they try to wrap up work for the session which adjourns May 1. 

Image Source:"Gavel" by walknboston is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Examples of School Uniform Policies

ruler 00314254.jpg
As a reader of this blog, your child likely attends a school with a uniform policy or a uniform dress code. Most school's now post their policy online on the school's website or the PTA website.  Please take a minute and add a link to your school's written policy.

In the comments below, share with us:

  1. What type of school? Public, Private, Charter, Parochial, etc.
  2. Where is the school located? City and State & Country if you are outside the US.
  3. URL Link to the school's written policy:

(image used with permission from Microsoft)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Podcast on Student Standard Attire

The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) produced a podcast series called Today's Middle Level Educator.  One episode, published in October 2009, featured a conversation with Ernie Rambo, an educator in Las Vegas Nevada. The episode is titled "School Uniforms: Jeans or Jackets"?

The description reads:
"Ernie is a classroom teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada, and has been directly involved with the implications of the Uniform issue.  Jack and Ernie examine the advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms and talk about questions the teachers might have regarding the uniform issue and how to address student concerns."

The podcast is just over 17 minutes but is worth the time if you are a school administrator or parent at a school considering implementing a student standard attire policy.