I hate to say I told you so, but…

Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while will remember that Guilford County School’s first foray into school uniforms occurred at Aycock Middle School three years ago.  Today we read that I was on the right side of that argument.  

GCS’s John Wright told our school board, “You do not find one significant trend one way or another.”, in test scores (or any other indicator) in schools (soon to be 22 in number system wide) that require a “standard mode of dress” (SMOD).

Implemented through some heavy-handed methods by long-gone principal William Price, SMOD at Aycock was opposed by myself and other parents as just so much window dressing in a school that was (and still is) suffering because of a decline in behavior of some students.

During one contentious meeting, an Aycock teacher gave her best reason for why she was in support of SMOD when she…

“…stated that there is a group of students at Aycock who are overly “defiant” and that teachers are having trouble teaching because of them.  She went on to relate how these student’s continued presence was demoralizing the staff and contributing to the high rate (30%) of teacher turnover.  It was her hope that if these student’s are saddled with a policy that strictly limits what can be worn at school – they will choose to not attend Aycock.”

Back in 2004 I cited a body of research that proved no correlation between uniforms and school discipline, but I guess we just had to find out for ourselves.

After hearing Wright’s report, school board Chairman Allen Duncan figured that the board should offer some guidance on current and future implementations of SMOD.  “We ought to take some message back to our schools with this.”, he said.  Here’s the “message” they came up with…

“School leaders shouldn’t see uniforms as a panacea and should use them in tandem with other policies to address student achievement and discipline…. And the majority of parents and school employees should support their use.”

In other words: “Our research proves that school uniforms do nothing for anything.  However, if it comes to pass that some principal should decide to implement them in some school, everyone one should just shut up about it then go out and buy your kids some oxford shirts and khakis.”

Now that’s leadership.

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  1. Melanie Rodenbough
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello, David, my old anti-SMOD ally! Wasn’t that school board discussion a hoot? I wish I’d been there, so raise a toast to good old William . . . now there’s a fine example for other principals to emulate! Alan’s comment made no sense to me. Perhaps it was it taken out of context? It is amazing watching more and more schools buy into SMOD, in spite of all rational evidence that it makes no difference in academics or behavior. But Aycock is not the only school to consider uniforms as a defensive measure, to “keep out” the problems. And in some contorted logic, it then becomes imperative to have ALL the schools in SMOD, to prevent that from happening . . . so now we’re all in SMOD because, uh, now why was it?
    Oh, yes, to prevent all those disciplinary problems relating to dress code violations! Another example of how eagerly we grasp at quick and easy solutions to our schools’ problems . . . can anybody say “Block Schedule”? or “9th Grade Academy”? Or whatever else somebody’s handing out grants for these days . . .
    We still have our anti-SMOD shirts and buttons over here, ready to dust them off when needed. My hope is that, as with block scheduling, Grimsley can hold off the fad until it becomes apparent it doesn’t really change much of anything, and others begin the cycle of bailing out. But you just never know.

  2. RH
    Posted April 30, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I’m not fooled. This can’t be Hogg’s Blog. There’s nothing new posted about Burbon, Kentucky, horses, informal wagering or a combination of the four, which usually come together rather nicely about a week from now.

    Good try, though.