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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

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Janet

I have had both kids in uniforms and kids without, boys and girl. All education, status, and culture issues aside, there are huge mom benefits in uniforms. And really, that's what matters.

1. Not having to find things that match before coffee.
2. No dramatic fashion crises with kids trying to decide what to wear in the morning.
3. Arguments over what's appropriate are relegated to non-morning hours when I can think better.
4. Shopping is dramatically streamlined and items can be bought without kids present. (Families with more than one kid will truly appreciate this.)
5. The uniforms don't get worn on weekends and, at least when the kids were little, exhanged for play clothes as soon as they got home from school. Keeping them segregated made them a lot easier to keep up with.
6. They can be passed along to siblings and cousins regardless of the next kid's personal style.
7. Whatever anyone else's experience, I think uniforms are a bargain. A couple of hand-me-down jumpers and blouses for the year is hard to beat.

I'm all for wardrobe personal expression as soon as they understand how the washer works.

Daniel

great gawd. that's an amazing summary that brittney put together. bang bang bang. dead.

i'm all over the map on uniforms, and would generally tend to agree with your original thoughts, john. wearing a uniform (along with uniform-cut hair, etc.) was actually a great experience for me, because it meant that people dealt with how I acted instead of how I looked, and there weren't any of those "poor country hippie boy" clues to pick up from the way I dressed. So I originally thought a uniform policy was fine for schools.

I eventually changed my opinion -- not because I think uniforms are a terrible idea -- but because whatever marginal advantages they might offer are completely, utterly overwhelmed by the local school district's bureaucratic tendency to turn trivial matters into regulatory raison d'etres. You get uniforms so you don't have to waste energy, thought and money on dressing your kid appropriately for school, but bureaucrats turn minor uniform infractions into disciplinary cases. Well, screw that. They're kids. That they're dressed at all some mornings is a miracle.

It doesn't always turn out this way, but I'm generally comfortable with the notion that less is more when it comes to regulation. When I consider supporting a new rule now, it's because I think (rightly or wrongly) that the case on its behalf is more than just marginally superior to the status quo. If not, why bother? Why give the REMFs any additional power whatsoever?

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