A recent study from the University of Alabama found kids’ school uniforms have no effect on “substance use, behavioral problems, or attendance,” and even discouraged students from attending. So why are they popular the world over?
Americans love to splurge on French Toast uniforms, especially in the rapidly reproducing charter school culture. Japan is famous for a strict code of uniforms based on European sailor garb. Britishers have different ones for every part of the United Kingdom from Scotland to Wales, down to individual schools! The school uniform is ubiquitous, even when no European influence can be detected; Brazil garbs their kids in bright green and yellow, while China’s favorite is the comfy track suit.
Perhaps the draw is in the preparatory appeal: parents want their kids to grow up and get jobs where everyone dresses the same, and in a certain professionalism. Many countries definitely express a unique national character–French schools reputedly reject the idea out of hand, citing their liberal culture. Finding the perfect girls school skirt or boys school pants is also a valuable bonding experience, a unique occasion where the children can experience firsthand all the thought and money that goes into their parents’ care. Whatever the reason we keep the tradition, it is apparent school uniforms are here to stay.