Dec 24, 2006

New Look


I do the majority of my posting on Alasandra these days, but since Alasandra got a new look for Christmas I decided to update all my blogs. Hope you enjoy.

Oct 19, 2006

Comic Relief

The Demon Car
OK, my eldest had his learners permit and I decided he was ready to drive on the road (shudder). So when we left the local veterinarian's office with his cat in tow I handed Porpoise Boy the keys and told him to drive. Actually he did very well, under very trying circumstances. The cat had decided to make his displeasure at being taken to the vet known by voiding his breakfast (the smell was awful), but Porpoise Boy was maintaining a constant rate of speed, doing the speed limit, obeying the rules of the road and doing an all around great job. So we get to our driveway. I tell him to come to a complete stop, take his foot off the break and turn. I assumed he would slowly take his foot off the brake (never assume with beginning drivers). My 99 Honda Accord immediately leapt forward. Thanks to Porpoise Boy's quick reflexes we managed to avoid the ditch, we did hit a green pole marking the property line - it's really nice to have evidence of their mistakes when you want to point out they aren't perfect. He immediately said the car was possessed and started referring to it as THE DEMON CAR!

Oct 12, 2006

Guest Post by Steve Wright

Sorry I don't have a link for this, it was emailed to me privately, but we really need to get the uniform enslaved kids in Jackson County Mississippi out of their uniforms.


Uniforms don't truly help to identify people who don't belong there. They only make people more complacent about accepting someone who is there in the supposed school uniform.


Mum's anger as girl 'swaps' schools

A 13-year-old girl sparked a major alert when she skipped lessons at her school - and posed as a pupil at another school.

Now the mother of Danielle May is demanding to know how her daughter was able to sit through two lessons while police were preparing to carry out a helicopter search for her.

Danielle, a Year 8 pupil at St Joseph's Catholic College in Manningham, Bradford, left her home at Buttershaw in her school uniform as normal.

But her mother, Anne Tummons, was alerted by a friend of Danielle who told her she had not got on the school bus.

Miss Tummons, 32, phoned the school and was told Danielle had not attended, so she called police.

She said: "I was panicking. Danielle had been verbally bullied by a couple of other girls at school but she said she was sorting it out.


"I couldn't understand why she hadn't turned up at school. She had never played truant before."

Miss Tummons, of Edge End Gardens, searched the Buttershaw area and then decided to go to Buttershaw High where an older friend of her daughter was a pupil.


She said: "I saw another friend of my daughter near the school gates and was explaining what had happened and she said She's here, she came to school this morning.' "I told a member of security staff on the gates who contacted a teacher on a walkie talkie. A member of staff then came and told me they had found her. She was being taught in class.

"Danielle told me she had gone into the school at the normal time with a friend after changing into a Buttershaw uniform, and went into the classroom. She sat there with a friend until a teacher came up and she said she was a new pupil.

"She had no paperwork or proof with her but she wasn't asked any questions. She was asked to get a yellow slip and give it to the form teacher who told her to give it to all the teachers during lessons.

"She was with 15-year-old Year 10 pupils. At the time I was grateful I had found her safe, but now I am shocked that she was able to get in the school."

Miss Tummons, who also has a seven-year-old girl and a boy aged four, said: "If I hadn't gone there I think she would have made it through the day.

"I am concerned that this could happen."

She said Danielle had not wanted to go to her own school last Wednesday morning because of problems with other girls and her friends had joked about her going to Buttershaw.
"I don't know why she did it," Miss Tummons said. "She seemed happy and normal that morning, it came out of the blue."

A spokesman for Buttershaw High confirmed a girl wearing full school uniform had entered the school on Wednesday and gone into a vocational lesson.

She said: "She was in collusion with two of our students and informed the teacher that she was a new pupil. As the teachers changed, the message was passed that she was a new pupil and therefore the teachers kept her in class.

"Teachers cannot leave class while they are teaching but they would have checked she was a new pupil with the attendance office later.

"We were alerted by the girl's mother that her daughter was in school and she was immediately found and returned to her mother.

"We have spoken to our students concerned, and with their parents. They have been reprimanded and made aware that they shouldn't be bringing in people from other schools.
"We are concerned about this but a school isn't a closed place. We are a large school with 1,500 students and she was in full uniform.

"We do have security and systems in place and staff would have checked on it.
"She wasn't causing any problem, she was quite enjoying the lessons. If she had been a problem she would have been found out earlier."

Sergeant Mohammed Farooq, of Bradford South Police, confirmed officers had been informed of Danielle's disappearance by her mother and they had followed normal procedures, which included patrols searching the area, informing neighbouring police divisions and the Neighbourhood Patrolling Team and sending a school liaison officer to her school to speak to her friends.

He said that depending on the nature and time of her disappearance they would have considered using the force helicopter.

5:07pm Monday 2nd October 2006
By Steve Wright


For all you idiots that think mandatory school uniforms keep your kids safe, read how a student at uniform enslaved Resurrection Catholic High School (Pascagoula, MS) was arrested for bringing a gun to school. I thought kids wearing uniforms would be unable to sneak guns into their schools??????

Sep 24, 2006

It's Ok To Strip Search Public School Students?

HR 5295 is a Federal Law, so all public schools would have to comply or risk losing federal funding.

Even though student molestations seem to be reaching epidemic proportions in schools across America, the House of Representatives has approved a tough new anti-drug and anti-weapon law that would require local districts to develop search policies – including strip searches – with immunity against prosecution for teachers and staff. Schools would have to develop policies for searching students, or face the loss of some federal funding, under the bill – HR 5295, approved by a voice vote Tuesday. It moves to the Senate, which does not have similar legislation pending at this time.

Considering all the teachers that have been guilty of molesting students, one would think our lawmakers would think twice before encouraging strip searches of MINORS.

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Sep 8, 2006

Senior Citizens and Driving

The Sun Herald finally figures out that it is senior citizens that are the bad driver's; not teens.

George Russell Weller is 89 years old. He does not have a criminal record. He told police he had no idea how the car he was driving three years ago accelerated through a crowded farmers market, striking and killing 10 people and injuring 60 more before it finally came to a stop. He spoke of the "poor people" he hurt, and of how he should have listened to his wife and never driven to the post office to mail that letter. He just wanted his niece, who was getting married that weekend, to get the card.

Sep 1, 2006

Should public schools require uniforms?

Should public schools require uniforms?


By Sara Bernard
The first day of the new school year is fast approaching (or, in some cases, already past), and many students have begun asking themselves that burning question: “What should I wear?” But in more and more schools across the country, this issue is no longer a worry. An increasing number of public schools require that all students dress in school-prescribed outfits. Proponents contend that similar clothing can be a great equalizer, doing away with the troubles that attire can cause: discrimination, cliques, distraction due to skimpy or otherwise inappropriate apparel, and even violent conflict based on clothing and accessories that are offensive or suggest gang affiliation. On the other hand, many people use clothes as a form of self-expression, and requiring school uniforms can take away the sense of individuality and creativity so important to students. How should schools address this issue? We’re interested in your opinion.

Aug 16, 2006

Parents Opposed to Mandatory School Uniforms Get a Free Home Tutor For Their Kids

According to Principal Fred Ponti of the Huber Street School parents who are opposed to the mandatory school uniform policy, will get a free home tutor for their child until they are in compliance.

"For the elementary school levels, after the first offense, parents will be notified. The second offense, there will be a conference with the principal. Third offense, students will be given a home tutor until there is compliance. Nowhere are we talking about expulsion during any of the presentations to the parents. Never."

Home Tutor versus Public School, I know which I would choose for my children. It sounds like these parents are getting a good deal. No uniforms and a private home tutor to boot.

Aug 11, 2006

Breastfeeding

Numerous studies have been done proving that babies that are breastfeed are healthier. So why do many people in the U.S. frown on public breastfeeding? Read more in the Sun Herald.

Jul 20, 2006

Angry Parents Confront School Board Over Uniforms

I look forward to seeing how successful they are. IF they are able to get rid of the mandatory uniforms, then maybe there is hope for uniform enslaved Jackson County.

Jul 12, 2006

46 Year Old Reckless Driver

The accident remains under investigation, but Deputy Jason Byrd of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said initial information from witnesses at the scene said a green Ford Aerostar van driven by 46 year old Hopson was southbound on Gautier-Vancleave Road when it reportedly crossed the center line and collided with a northbound 1998 GMC sport utility vehicle driven by Dubuisson in the northbound lane.

One can only wonder why the Sun Herald isn't calling for restrictions on 46 year old drivers. But they barely mentioned the accident in their paper.

Jun 28, 2006

Parents Don't Have the Right to Choose Medical Care for Their Children

Tina Marie Carlsen wanted to explore alternative treatments to kidney surgery for her son. So the hospital took her to court and had her son taken from her custody. Now she is charged with kidnapping because she didn't agree with what a doctor wanted to do to her son.


As the Mother shouldn't her opinion matter more then the doctors?

Jun 24, 2006

Uniforms Not the Way to Go

An article in the Walton Tribune proclaims "uniforms not the way to go".

Robbie Schwartz-

My parents never told me what to wear. Rather, they thought it more important to be involved in my life. I attended public schools that did not have dress codes in the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C. Yeah, there were fights. But there are always going to be fights. Limiting a means of self- expression is not the answer. There are so many other areas that need to be addressed first that I think many people turn to this as a quick solution. And it’s not. It just creates more rebellion and turns our youths into those cut from the same mold.Who is to say that the mold is right?

Jun 18, 2006

Crane Community Against Uniforms

Those against uniforms said it takes away the students' individuality, it will not save money and the schools should do a better job of enforcing the current dress code.


I couldn't have said it better myself. I wish these parents luck. I know from first hand experience that when the mandatory school uniform Nazis strike, they don't tend to listen to common sense or care what the majority of parents want.

Jun 15, 2006

School Board Shows Sense Votes NO to Uniforms

It's a pity the Jackson County School Board enslaved our children in mandatory school uniforms without researching the matter. After this school board researched uniforms they voted NO.

Assistant Superintendent Ruth Ann Erdner researched the issue and found most schools have a clause that allows parents to opt out of the requirement. School uniform requirements also have opened districts up to lawsuits, Erdner said her research found. Fowler asked each board member their thoughts on the issue.“I’m a big negative on school uniforms,” David Meara said. Some board members said they would be willing to look at the issue and be supportive if a school wanted to pilot a school uniform program. Keithly said research about its effectiveness was “very inconclusive.” Erdner said research from one junior high showed fights doubled when the school adopted school uniforms.

Jun 12, 2006

School Tells Parents What to Feed Kids

First public schools decided parents didn't have the right to dress their children in appropriate school attire and forced mandatory school uniforms on us. Now a PA school wants to tell parents what they can feed their kids.

May 29, 2006

Warning You Don't Own the CD You Bought

The attempt to control your use of what you buy has bipartisan support; there should be bipartisan pushback.

May 25, 2006

College & Money

Charlie Mitchell advises to borrow with caution. His advice is timely as Mississippi's college students face tuition hikes. According the the Sun Herald.

The vast majority of the new funding went toward long-overdue pay increases for faculty and staff after higher education had received virtually no increase in support since 2000. The rest went to legislatively earmarked projects like the University of Mississippi Medical Center,student aid, and the Ayers higher education lawsuit settlement, leaving only $4 million to be used for education and general support.


Facing some $12 million in higher fuel costs and with no help coming from the Legislature or Barbour, the College Board dealt with the financial crunch the old-fashioned way - through yet another tuition increase.

May 18, 2006

Young Ladies Have to Much Power to Destroy Young Men's Lives

Rape is a terrible crime. There is no doubt about that. But young ladies are being giving to much power to destroy young men's lives.

Consider.............................
If a young lady decides to have sex with someone and her boyfriend finds out about it; she can cry rape. The unfortunate young man goes to prison, and she has the sympathy of her boyfriend.

If a young lady gets mad at her date she can cry rape and off to prison the young man goes.

Before giving young men a life sentence juries should require more then the young lady's word on his guilt or innocence.

May 15, 2006

Teacher Has Lapse of Judgment

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile may remember my January 25th, 2006 post Warning Writing May Get You in Trouble. Students were punished for journal entries in a private journal the teacher told them to keep.

Or the March 4th, 2006 post Schools Overstepping Their Bounds, where a student was threatened with expulsion for posting graphic threats on a personal computer in his own home after school hours and other students were suspended merely for viewing his website.

Now we have a High School Teacher who instructed his students to write a muderous essay (for a drafting class no less). According to the principal it was a "lapse of judgment" on the teachers part. Geez, adults are allowed to have lapses of judgment, but children are suppose to know better??????

May 7, 2006

Young Men Deserve Better Treatment

Kathleen Parker writes"In 5 to 15 seconds, a life turns from promising to prison. The moral of Gorman's story, which can't be proved or disproved in this limited space, is that boys and men accused of rape have little hope of reclaiming the life they once knew, regardless of whether they're guilty or innocent."

Certainly the jury should have questioned the "young lady's" truthfulness when they were told that at first she lied about being dragged to the young man's apartment, changing her story when she was told that parking lot cameras might have captured her going into the apartment willingly.

And rape shield laws should not be used to justify suppressing the fact that the "young lady" had a history of crying rape and falsely accusing young men, because she was too drunk/high to know what she was doing.

Unfortunately the young man who had a promising future is in prison and the "young lady" is back partying free to ruin another young man's life.

Apr 12, 2006

Dump Uniforms Now!

“Current research says uniforms have no affect on student achievement or school climate” cites Principal Pam Bradley, of Muskogee. With lack of parent and student support the uniform policy may bite the dust.

Come on Jackson County if they can get rid of uniforms we can too. Stand up for our kids and let the school board know we do NOT want mandatory school uniforms in our schools!

Apr 10, 2006

Do Schools Have The Right To Force Parents To Medicate Their Children?

I hope and pray this couldn't happen in the U. S., but I wouldn't count on it. Schools seemed to be trying to usurp more and more parental rights.



PETITION FOR CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED:Please sign the petition for a public investigation!The case of 12-year old Gabriel Lavigueur, who is out of school because his mother refused to put him on psychiatric drugs, has sparked a storm of media and is bringing the eyes of the world to Montreal, Canada. Today, internationally renowned human rights lawyer, Alan Stein, filed a petition with the Quebec Supreme Court seeking approval for a class action lawsuit on behalf of all parents in the province who've been pressured by schools to drug their children. Mr. Stein is the lawyer who won settlements on behalf of Canadian mind control victims. The National Parents Association (NPA) which is responsible for the Lavigueur case, will be calling on the head of government for a full public investigation and direct intervention in the Lavigueur case.Please help. SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://www.npaquebec.net/index.htmP.S. This is vital to Canada and the United States, as the National Parents Association will be expanding the campaign in both countries.

Apr 9, 2006

Return To A Free Market Education

This interesting idea was purposed by Dominick Odorizzi in The Meridian Star.

Return to a free market education
Each year, hundreds of news articles, opinion columns, editorials and letters critical of our public education system are printed in newspapers throughout our country. Yet, few, if any, propose getting rid of taxpayer-funded education and allowing the free market to provide our educational needs.Education and opinion cartels claim that elimination of public schools would mean the death of education. They paint a bleak picture of a nation of unschooled illiterates who would not even be able read and write, much less acquire technological or scientific expertise. To discover the truth, we need to examine American history from colonial days until well into the 19th century. During that vast stretch of time, except for a few public schools in New England, the free market provided all educational needs. Home-schooling and the one-room school were very common. Private schools supported by parents, churches or charitable institutions flourished without the benefit of government subsidies and directives. Parents controlled the teaching of their children. The absence of government funding did not hinder the students of this free-market approach to education. Without compulsory attendance laws and other controls mandating a “good” education, they somehow managed to transform a supposedly backward wilderness nation into the envy of the world. Colonial and post-colonial generations of Americans not only knew how to read and write, they also possessed values that are under attack today. These include responsibility, respect, self-reliance, honesty and perseverance. Because parents controlled the education of their children, they could transmit to their offspring the same traditional values that they cherished. Tragically, many Americans mistakenly believe that public schools are an integral part of our government. Separation of school and state is not a revolutionary development in our history. It is a welcome return to our philosophical and cultural roots. Today, we pay public education taxes for life even if we have no children. In a free market, we would pay none. Parents would save considerable money to pay for the education of their own children. Also, parents could select schools teaching the curriculum and values of their choice. Competition among the many new private schools needed would keep tuition costs low and supply abundant choices. Charity would provide for the poor. Our public education system continues to require more of our tax money while producing declining academic results and increasing social problems. The only viable solution is to separate school and state and return to a tried and proven free market in education. Dominick Odorizzi Northridge, Calif.

Mar 16, 2006

Governor Signs Bill Creating Virtual Public Schools

The Governor has signed a bill, creating Virtual Public Schools in Mississippi. At first blush Virtual Public Schools seem to be the panacea Mississippi's ailing public school system needs. But I have several questions and concerns about Virtual Schools.

  • So far all the Virtual School companies are out of state. Do we really want to send our educational funds out of state?

  • How will Virtual Schools be funded? How will their funding affect traditional public schools?

  • Who will be able to use Virtual Public Schools? Will there be a requirement that a parent be home to supervise Virtual Public School Students?

  • What safeguards will be put in place to ensure that public funds are spent wisely and that the Virtual Schools are delivering the education they promised?

Until these questions are answered to the satisfaction of the Mississippi Taxpayers, maybe we should put the brakes on, take a step back and make sure the legislation enacted is done in the best interest of all Mississippi's children and not as a knee jerk reaction. I encourage all Mississippian's that share my concern about Virtual Schools to call their Senator, Congressmen and the Governor to express their concerns.

Mar 4, 2006

Schools Overstepping Their Bounds

In Costa Mesa, California, a middle school student faces expulsion for allegedly posting graphic threats against a classmate on the popular MySpace.com Web site, and 20 of his classmates were suspended for viewing the posting, school officials said. Parents however questioned whether the school is overstepping its bounds by disciplining students for actions that occurred on personal computers, at home and after school hours.
http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/nation/14002698.htm

While all of us would agree that the student was wrong to post graphic threats on the website, since the students actions took place in HIS HOME, AFTER SCHOOL HOURS and on the FAMILY'S PERSONAL COMPUTER the majority of us would think that it would be up to the child's parents to punish him. Frankly I am not comfortable with the school system having the authority to punish students for actions that take place in their home.

Suspending 20 additional students for merely viewing the website, is ludicrous.

In VA Parents Rally against School Uniforms

Click on the title to read the entire article

Feb 24, 2006

Mississippi Looks At Virtual Public Schools

House Bill 1130 authorizes establishment of the Mississippi Virtual Public School Program to offer additional educational resources to students for academic achievement. http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/Extrel/leg/06HouseSenate.html


While some states have wonderful Virtual Public School Programs, other Virtual Public School Programs have generated controversy and angst. Critics claim that the Electronic Classroom Of Tomorrow in Ohio has ignored academic guidelines while operating with questionable accounting practices. And of course there is the question of where the funding will come from, obviously money will be diverted from traditional public schools to fund the virtual public schools.


But perhaps the most troubling aspect to me is the virtual school group
moderated by Carrie Jean Ross of Connections Academy--a for-profit organization that would make some $$$ if this bill goes through. This is NOT a grass roots effort by residents of Mississippi to start virtual public schools in our state, Ms. Ross doesn't even LIVE in Mississippi. The company she works for is currently lobbying our legislature to start a Virtual Public School Program in Mississippi. If their is a genuine need for Virtual Public Schools in our State, shouldn't the push come from residents of Mississippi and not outsiders who have their own agenda?

Feb 18, 2006

Government Wants to Take Away Teens Rights


Sid Salter's Mixed messages to teens is worth a look
http://www.meridianstar.com/columns/local_story_046071910.html

It's amazing to me that the government can decide what color and style clothing your kids can wear and what you as the parent can buy for them, with money you earned and pay taxes on, to wear to a public school (that your tax money supports). Apparently school boards in Mississippi have decided that teens are not smart enough to dress themselves and that their parents shouldn't have any input in the matter either. But the same 18 year old that can't pick out his/her own clothes if they are still attending a public school CAN join the army (and die for their country) and apparently while they can't pick out their own clothes they CAN VOTE. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it; you are to immature to know what style of clothing is appropriate for school and you shouldn't even be given a choice in what color to wear, but you can choose the next president, governor or any other elected official!

Now they want to take away teens right to drive...........................
Oh, but it's still ok for you to get a job and pay taxes.

I get really aggravated every time a teen is in an accident and some idiot wants to raise the driving age. How come when some old geezer is in an accident the same idiots don't suggest taking away everyone over 65's license? It makes as much sense.

Developing good driving skills take time. You aren't going to magically know how to drive when you reach a certain age. And as with everything there are some teens that are wonderful drivers; some that are so-so and some that shouldn't ever be on the road. Chances are that they would be the same drivers rather they were 16, 26, 36, or 65.

The message that Mississippi's elected officials sends teens seems to be this We want you to act like mature individuals; but we reserve the right to treat you like immature idiots no matter how mature you act. With that kind of attitude displayed toward teens no wonder so many of them wonder why they should behave like mature individuals. The government in Mississippi certainly isn't going to reward them for mature behavior.

Of course their parents aren't treated much better. The school board doesn't think you are capable of teaching your children how to dress for school so they enact mandatory school uniform rules that force you to spend your hard earned cash on clothes you can't stand. And apparently now they have decided that PARENTS aren't to be trusted to know when their kids are mature enough to operate a motor vehicle. I wonder how long it will be before the GOVERNMENT decides you don't know how to feed your kids and forces you to only buy and cook certain foods.......................................... Maybe George Orwell just got the date wrong when he titled his book 1984!

Big Brother is watching you!!!

Feb 12, 2006

Federal court overrules school dress code policy



Finally a victory for people with common sense. Maybe mandatory school uniforms in public schools are on the way out. I certainly hope so......................

Feb 1, 2006

What's in a name?

I try not to cross post, but this is an important educational issue. While many of you who are unhappy with your child's public school think charter/virtual schools could be the answer and resent homeschoolers attitudes toward them, please try to understand that what we object to is the loss of our homeschooling freedoms; not your having an alternative to your child's public schools. After all I started homeschooling because I wasn't happy with my children's public schools, and I firmly believe that parents should have the choice to educate their children in the manner they see fit; rather that be homeschooling, charter/virtual schools, private schools or public schools. But allowing public schools to co-opt the homeschooling name and refer to charter/virtual school students as homeschoolers when they are under government control, allows them to interfere with independent homeschoolers, and ultimately benefits none of us. Please read my post Why I Stand For Homeschooling on my homeschooling blog

Jan 25, 2006

Warning Writing May Get You in Trouble (The teacher told you to is no excuse)

Private Writings, Public Punishment by David M. Agrela

Recall the quote from Mark Twain, who said more than 100 years ago, "First God made idiots for practice. Then he created school boards." The often-nonsensical policies created by school administrators would be laughable, if they weren't so draconian.

First a teacher tells students to keep a PRIVATE journal, to feel free to write what ever comes into their heads.

Then administrators punished the students for following instructions. How much sense does that make?

More troubling is the fact that some great writing talent may be stifled because the school officials can't or won't distinguish between FICTION (a literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact, a deliberately false or improbable account ) and reality. Never mind that they refuse to respect the concept of private. I sure am glad I am not in school today. Not only do you have to manage to write papers without grammatical errors; but now you better be darn sure that every thing you write (even in PRIVATE journals) is politically correct, doesn't offend anyone in anyway, and can't in any twisted fashion be construed as a threat against anyone or anything.

Imagine if Charles Dickens, Voltaire, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and a host of other great authors had to write under the same constraints. The world would be short a couple of literary master pieces.
ATTENTION: Check out this website http://gulfcoastparents.com/ for what is going on in MS Gulf Coast Schools.

And here is a great website on The Dangers of the School Uniform Movement by Gary Peter Klahr
http://www.oblivion.net/oblivion/8/school_uniforms.shtml

Jan 12, 2006

Clothes don’t change the teen
By Samantha Swindler

No matter how you look at it, standardized dress is a punishment. It is taking away a group’s right to choose how they express themselves to the world.Jacksonville Independent School District is now soliciting community opinions on the possibility of implementing standardized dress for all grade levels. Essentially, students will be given a range of appropriate colors and styles of clothing to wear each day — most likely a polo shirt and jeans, khakis, or a skirt of specified length. The theory behind this is that it will 1) help students focus more on school and less on the social strata surrounding them, and 2) it will raise academic performance.
To the second assumption, I would like to be provided with any conclusive research that has been able to link uniforms to an increase in academics, because I haven’t found any.A story in the Dec. 11, 2005, Dallas Morning News quoted a Plano elementary principal as saying that though she liked having optional standardized dress for students, she had no data showing that it actually helped grades. One study I found on the National Association of Elementary School Principals Web site did claim that uniforms helped school safety and academic performance — that study was funded by French Toast, a school uniform manufacturer. In the book, “The School Uniform Movement and What It Tells Us About American Education: A Symbolic Crusade,” by David L. Brunsma, an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri, years of studies found that nothing suggests standardized dress can be linked to an increase in academic achievement or a decrease in gang activity. An Internet search found other similar books and studies. So, on to more important things — like image.
I’m not opposed to standardized dress for elementary and intermediate schools. These kids’ parents buy their clothes for them, and for the most part, young children have less to say about what they do, where they go, and how they dress. It won’t be quite so demoralizing, and I haven’t seen studies suggesting that standardized dress hurts academic performance.But, anyone who remembers their high school years can remember how important “society” was. As far as I’m concerned, this is fact — no matter what you do to them or how you try to institutionalize them, in high school there will always be nerds, goths, preppies, jocks, rich kids, gangsters, and loners. This is life. After graduation, it’s still there, and I find more and more that people are still as petty, shallow and mean as teenagers can be.But it is sad that people think slapping polo shirts on a bunch of young people will solve gang violence and raise TAKS scores.
For a few brief years, until second grade, I attended a private school in Houston that required students to wear uniforms. Being about 7 years old, I did not know or question the reasoning behind this. But I do remember vividly that it did not change, at all, the dichotomy of the classroom, and the need for children to create a social strata — you can tell who the rich kids are, even when you all wear the same thing. You can tell who has the newest Nikes and whose pants came from a discount store. JISD has a dress code in place. If teachers can’t force kids to tuck in their shirts today, what will be any different about standardized dress? We need to simply enforce the code we have. If students can’t dress themselves appropriately, then take disciplinary action. Standardize the dress at the Compass Center for kids with disciplinary problems. Freedom to dress within the regular dress code is a privilege, yes, but I think it should only be taken away if the student has done something wrong. Why are we punishing all students because a handful are wearing tube tops or pants falling off their behinds? These are things addressed in the current dress code.
I realize the concern for teachers. They spend unnecessary amounts of instructional time trying to discipline students for disruptions. In theory, a new, more strict dress code could eliminate these hassles. But, again, give teachers some teeth to enforce the current rules and establish discipline. This is the way to go — not stripping the rights of all students.I was casually talking about this topic during a church function with a group of local parents, and this response surprised me — “kids don’t have rights.”This may have been half joking, but there was a hint of truth. No rights? The “kids” I’m talking about are able to drive, and some are able to vote and join the military. These kids are old enough to work, old enough to live on their own, and, quite honestly, old enough to drop out of school. They are at an age where they are making mature, big decisions that can affect the rest of their lives. If we can’t trust them to dress themselves properly in the morning, how can we have possibly prepared them for life in the world once they graduate?If we treat teenagers like adults, they will be more likely to act like adults. (Of course, don’t be afraid to punish them like children when they constantly act out and thus interrupt the educational time of other students).
According to a 2000 survey on crime and safety by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (you can find this at www.ed.gov), 12 percent of all U.S. public schools require students to wear uniforms, and 43 percent said they enforce a “strict” dress code. That includes 12 percent of elementary schools and 4 percent of secondary schools in uniforms. Also interesting, 27 percent of urban schools require uniforms — only two percent of rural schools do the same. The study did not consider the term standardized dress.Even still, Jacksonville High School would certainly be in the minority if it required standardized dress. Honestly, I don’t think it would address the bigger problems in the district. Why is a student allowed to come back to class after mouthing off to a teacher (as several teachers have confided to me anonymously)? If you can’t make a kid pull up his FUBU pants, what makes you think you can make him pull up his khakis? Plus, if you want to address academics, none of this is going to change the fact that some of these kids’ teachers don’t have teaching degrees, and we raise money for field houses before science labs.