School and the “Real World”

I stumbled across an article this morning about a school district in the midst of a decision of whether or not to change to a stricter dress code.  The following quote really stood out to me:

She pointed out that students will have to cope with diversity in the workplace. “The real world isn’t the same as school,” Cara said. “People come together with differences; we won’t learn to cope with those differences.”

The insinuation is, of course, that by enforcing a uniform-like dress code, the school is failing to prepare students for the real world, in which they will have to accept and deal with diversity.

My first question is:  who in their right mind really thinks school prepares anyone for the “real world?”  Let’s see, in most school systems, you have a three month long vacation every year, as well as other vacations scattered in between class sessions, you work for maybe seven hours a day, and in spite of the previous two truths, you have basically no freedoms.  Yeah, that sounds like the “real world” we adults live in.

And then there’s the second, more obvious question:  Have any of these parents and students ever heard of an employer with a dress code?  Many, if not most, places of business have at least a rudimentary code for what it appropriate work attire, be it business casual, something more formal, or, *gasp* an actual uniform.  Whether you’re working at McDonald’s, in the military, civil service, or a hospital, many occupations do, in fact, require a strict uniform, in many cases much more strict than the:

Pants, capris or dresses in khaki, black or navy blue, with no denim or sweatpants. Shirts must be solid-color, collared shirts, sweaters or turtlenecks in black, red, navy blue or white.

required by this proposed dress code.

I am just blown away by parents that oppose this kind of thing.  I know as a teenager in high school, I would have loved a uniform–no need to worry about what I would wear the next day, no competition over designer labels, no wondering if I was “in style.”  And, as a parent, I would love a dress code for my children (if they weren’t home-schooled) for the same reasons, with the added benefit of uniforms taking away the distraction that some other clothing choices bring.  Guess I never considered that possibility as a student, but as a parent, I am now aware of the many different kinds of distraction that clothing choices can bring, from clothes that reveal too much, to shirts with inappropriate language, and I think it best if my children don’t have to deal with those distractions when they should be learning.

I guess this is just more proof of a world where parents themselves no longer respect authority, and always assume Johnny and Susie can do no wrong–it must be the evil teachers and administrators fault!

One thought on “School and the “Real World”

  1. I've read some very interesting articles about the benefits of school uniforms over the years. And you are absolutely right: School is not like the "real world" [smile].

    ~Luke

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