Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Pajama Party?

Dennis Praeger pointed out this story on his radio program today about a Michigan school finally getting the gumption to ban the wearing of pajamas to school! Having endured 12 years of Catholic education where there were no uniforms (but a dress code so strict you wished there were uniforms!) I cannot imagine this! Upon graduation from high school, I was grateful for the discipline this dress code had unwittingly etched on my brain. Despite the plethora of sweat pants and loungewear that surrounded me in college, it took me two and a half years before I could even show up to class in a pair of jeans! I soon discovered that my distaste for jeans in class was correct. Wearing them inevitably became an excuse not to take myself or the class seriously. It was an outward expression of bad attitude. This is not to say that jeans are bad--obviously there is a time and a place for them just as there is for pajamas.

Praeger made the reasonable point, however, that pajamas may actually be preferable to some of the "clothing" (such that it is) that young girls are wearing today because "at least it would have the virtue of not being sexually provacative." One has to admit that that is a serious point! But, seriously, why not just go back to uniforms for school? My daughter was perfectly delighted with hers this year (I hope the novelty does not wear off). It makes everyone’s life so much easier and the canard about individuality being suppressed is such an obvious joke that it deserves no comment.

Discussions - 37 Comments

I would enjoy seeing any studies you can provide that would show a link between how often a person wears jeans to class and the grades they earn. My guess is that there aren’t any. Jeans aren’t worn because they allow a student an excuse not to take themselves or their classes seriously; jeans are worn because they are cheap, dependable, and comfortable. To claim anything more is ludicrous.

I soon discovered that my distaste for jeans in class was correct. Wearing them inevitably became an excuse not to take myself or the class seriously. It was an outward expression of bad attitude.

I assume this is sarcasm.

Bad attitude? I’m sure you know how the driven web and software and entertainment industry billionaires and their sidekicks are dressing these days--the people on whose industry America’s competitiveness increasingly depends? Your kind of "discipline" isn’t sustaining America’s competitive advantage in today’s global economy--that of the Chinese perhaps. But our best hope of keeping jobs in America is the crazy youthful creativity that this messy society encourages with its license and (in many corners) lack of what you call "discipline."

Is that why America’s big corporations are increasingly doing away with so-called "casual Friday?"

What facts do you have to back up that claim? If we are relying on anecdotal evidence, all the corporations I know of have moved toward more casual attire, not less.

No, Miss Ponzi is correct. More companies are in fact restricting the wearing of casual dress.

Every action and an equal and opposite reaction.

Yes, I too would like to see some factual evidence of this claim.

And I continue to assert to exact opposite.

I agree with "AU" and "Christobel": show us some solid, factual evidence for this claim.

From my own personal experience, having attending a Christian school that required uniforms, I think I can say that there were a lot of students there who got worse grades and worked a lot less hard than students I knew who went to public school and wore jeans to class everyday. Personally, I take my classes, myself, and my out-of-class discussions with my peers more seriously now (while wearing jeans) than I did in high school (when I was required to wear khaki or navy slacks along with a white, navy, maroon, or light blue polo shirt [except on Thursdays . . . then we had to wear slacks, an oxford shirt, and a tie, with dress shoes . . . and I didn’t take myself more seriously on Thursdays than I did any other day of the week]).

I think Ms. Ponzi, that your problem with jeans is probably just that: your problem. And unless you can prove otherwise, I am going to have to concede to my continuous observation: jeans or no jeans, some people work hard and take their classes (and themselves) seriously and other people don’t (even if they wear very pretty clothes).

Just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth . . .

All right, let’s leave the statistics alone for a second. (Although it’s interesting that everyone is demanding statistics from Ms. Ponzi and nobody is demanding them from Mr. Howse, who sees a causal link between dressing down and economic success.) As academic achievement and workplace productivity go, there are probably a thousand studies saying that dress codes make no difference and a thousand others saying that dress codes make all the difference. As to the number of businesses that have relaxed their dress codes and the number that have tightened them, there are probably surveys that go both ways as well. It’s not worth arguing about right now. But dress codes in schools are very likely beneficial in other ways.

The most alarming parts of that article, for me, were a couple of quotes from one of the recent graduates:

"I don’t think [wearing pajamas to school is] disrespectful at all. I don’t see how it could be."

"You have to get up so early for school, so why do you have to put on uncomfortable clothes?" (Yeah, I can imagine telling my boss that 8 a.m. is too early for me to wear a tie to work. And she has one of the looser dress codes in my workplace!)

Consider this: Many workplaces still require suits and ties, and the ones that aren’t so strict often still set minimum standards. (No jeans, for example, or no t-shirts.) Furthermore, even outside the workplace, many situations demand a higher level of conduct, and the way we dress is an aspect of that conduct. We wouldn’t act or dress the same way for a football game as we would for a funeral. This girl clearly doesn’t understand that relationship and is probably going to be in for a rude awakening the first time she sets foot in one of those workplaces that requires her to wear business attire. If this is representative of students’ attitudes today, this is what the schools should be attacking when they devise dress codes.

Regardless of whether or not stricter school dress codes encourage better academic achievement, they can’t possibly hurt. They might, however, teach kids that either societal norms or the rules promulgated by those in authority (i.e. employers) will sometimes require them to dress a certain way and that they ought to comply with those expectations as a sign of respect. Banning sleepwear from the schools, it seems to me, is a bare minimum, and prohibiting jeans may not be necessary but may not be entirely unreasonable, either.

When I attended, which wasn’t that long ago, Ashland High School banned the wearing of pajamas except for one day during "Spirit Week." I will agree with you that pajamas are inappropriate attire for school. I consider jeans to be perfectly acceptable, however.

As a first year law student, I’ve noticed an interesting divide in the apparel of my classmates in these first three weeks. A little under half the class wear "business casual" clothing, or dressier, daily. I’ve never seen a suit coat in class, but today several of my female classmates were wearing skirts, sweater sets and pearls. The rest of the class sports more casual clothing, mostly jeans. The people that dress up have a more "serious" attitude, but it is generally expressed in a smarter-than-thou condescension towards everyone else in the class.

If that’s the case, I’ll take the jeans-wearers who are friendly and interested in learning from their classmates, not only looking down at them. :::Disclaimer: Please note that the above paragraphs are gross generalizations:::

For the record, I’m a law student, too, and I wear jeans to class on days when I don’t have to go to work. I have no objections at all to jeans, per se. I merely favor setting reasonable limits for high school students -- limits that reflect to some degree what they could possibly face in the real world and encourage respect for authority -- and I think if those limits exclude jeans, there’s nothing wrong with it.

I know for a fact that if I wake up relatively early, shower, and put on some decent clothes I will be more organized and serious minded/ready to learn for the rest of the day. This is because I am an unorganized person and getting my person organized at the beginning of the day helps me throughout the rest of it. However, I know many other people who can thrive in an unorganized environment; people who wear jeans and tie-dyes to class everyday and excel (much more than myself, I might add). While I would think that a dress code might create a more disciplined environment (although I’ve had many Catholic school graduates tell me otherwise...) it seems as though it is more of an individual phenomenon than a group one. Now, where exactly that puts me on the blue jeans political totem pole I have not a clue.

I think the problem with the jeans/slacks comment is that it ignores a large portion of American society. So far the examples have included college classrooms, high school classrooms, corporate offices, and law firms.

This excludes blue collar jobs, construction workers, lab technicians, etc. I seriously doubt these people are any less serious than lawyers, students, etc.

Ms. Ponzi stated in her post that uniforms surpressing individuality was an obvious joke, but I think she was too quick to dismiss that concern. I do not believe they surpress ALL individuality (which would be pretty difficult), but they do supress parts of it. If not the actions of sports teams and the military are irrational. Those are two common examples of organizations that seek to diminish individuality in order to accomplish goals requiring group activity; both require uniforms. I do not think this is a coincidence.

The question is do the benefits (more order) outweigh the costs (less freedom of expression). Ms. Ponzi would have us believe uniforms only provide benefits, that if everyone wore them everyone would be serious and happy. I do not think so.

I remember a time when blue-collar workers were clean-cut and dressed for work (typically some kind of uniform or coveralls). I think this was in part due to a common experience in military service. Not so today! I see so much slovenliness, and I can’t help but think that this bleeds over into work effort.

I don’t think we should go back to slacks and sport shirts for all occasions, but dress does make a statement, and it can be a sign of 1) seriousness of purpose, and 2) respect for others.

1. Wearing pajamas in school is wrong.

2.Wearing jeans in school is wrong.

3. Wearing pajamas in bed is good.

4. Therefore, wearing jeans in bed is good.

Students who insist on wearing pajamas in school should wear jeans in bed for an equivalent amount of hours.

These students will gradually fall farther and farther behind the smarter, more respectful, successful students who wear uniforms and slacks and then the pajamas/jeans wearers will be forced to clean the pools and bathrooms of the young, successful, well-dressed, good people. We can call this utopia "Ponziland." And we will see that it is good.

I don’t think wearing a school/work uniform stifles individuality in the least bit. I remember seeing a great cartoon once with a bunch of punk-rockers all leaning against a brick wall. They all had their mowhawks and ripped jeans and a t-shirt with a punk bad on it and the one guy closest to the reader’s point of view was saying "I just gotta be different, man." I would think uniforms would encourage individuality rather than stifle it because it forces you to look beyond clothing for uniqueness (is that a word?) So far as all that is concerned I agree with Ms. Ponzi. However, when it comes to academic/work performance I don’t know where exactly I stand because there does not seem to be enough evidence one way or the other (that I’ve seen) to suggest uniforms would make a big difference.

Andrew B:

So you think that the military and sports teams require uniforms because they want to encourage individuality? I always thought these institutions were concerned with placing the group ahead of the individual, in meeting the group’s needs before the individual’s needs, and one of the ways they did this was by making the individual feel as if he were part of the group, and a way of doing this was by supressing his desire to be seperate from the group (individuality) by making him dress like others.

Individuality is not a binary trait. One does not either have it or not have it, so methods of restricting individuality do not completely negate it. I would hope everyone can agree that restricting dress is restricting some aspect of individuality, but it might not restrict it enough to cause concern. Any position that restricting dress does not restrict individuality by some degee is contrary to experience, wrong, and silly.

Good point with the military, Steve. Caught me with my blue jeans down. My response is that there are plenty of venues outside of the classroom to express oneself if the majority wants to enforce uniforms. As I said before, I’m not gun-ho for uniforms, but I don’t feel like anyone’s rights are violated when they have to wear them. While it seems at first glance uniforms might help some students to concentrate and learn better, I’ve never heard of any evidence suggesting school uniforms impair other students’ scholastic abilities. I’m not really sure how I ended up on Ms. Ponzi’s side of this discussion, but there you have it. I reiterate I don’t really care one way or the other about uniforms, but I’m certainly not against them.

Ms. Ponzi loves to make her own problems other peoples’ problems. She doesn’t like jeans, so other people should not wear them. She doesn’t like pajamas, so other people should not wear them. I hope she doesn’t suddenly take a dislike to oxygen!

That is hilarious.

Standards of dress are a matter of social convention. I vote for a much stricter dress code in schools.

Part of adolescence is a deliberate flaunting of social convention. The best response is for those in authority to enforce strictly clear standards of some sort regarding dress and behavior. These standards should convey the message that school is serious business and that students are there primarily to acquire the wisdom of preceding generations. So dress codes should be written to appeal to the tastes of students’ grandparents.

I agree with you Charles. Those nasty little imps should be forced to recognize that they are in school to do one thing: LEARN. They are not there to get high school girls pregnant and listen to loud rap music! Wearing pajamas OR jeans only invites such behavior. Wearing a uniform calls for studious, disciplined LEARNING!

I don’t like to be crude, Mr. Dain, and Mr. Williams, but I think that you are wrong about a couple of points. First, I’m having a hard time imagining a school full of kids dressed up like their grandparents: bifocals, droopy hose, orthopedic shoes, and overalls, for instance.

On the other hand, that might cut down on the pregnancy problem, I suppose, since Mr. Dain thinks that kids are getting pregnant in school. I guess if kids looked more like their grandparents, then maybe they wouldn’t want to have sex with each other, and would turn their attention back to their books.

I just wonder what the teachers are looking at, and doing, while these kids are having sex in the classrooms and the hallways?

And finally, I’m thinking that wearing jeans probably does not lead to pregnancy. Most of my kids were conceived when my jeans were off, if I remember correctly. One of them, I wonder about, because he looks alot like my neighbor. but, even if that is the case, I never saw my neighbor wearing pajamas. he always dressed very nicely-- slacks, and cardigans, and such.

That is just ignorant...I thought this was a mature forum...grow up!

Not to be his knight in shining armor, but I doubt that last one is Dain. How pathetic is all of this? Please don’t post stuff like that on this site.

Let the smiting begin.

Sayest thou that thy servant can unlease hellfire on the infidels, or do I err?

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, O ye generation of vipers!

What about, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." At least until you can’t take the heat, and appeal to the grownups for help?

Listen, Greekboy, you haven’t dished out anything I couldn’t handle. As far as I’m concerned you’re a waste of space.

Ooooh! I’m so scaaaared! if I respond, and hurt your wittow feeeewings, then you can reach your arms out the top of your playpen, and John can take away all the bad words.

As I said, you’re a waste of space.

Which must be why you can’t seem to let me have the last word. That’s how irrelevant I am to you.

Regardless of the benefits or harmful effects of wearing pajamas in school, the bottom line is, it shouldn’t be any of your business what anyone else wears, and you shouldn’t be forcing others to comply with your personal standards of what is acceptable. If you as a parent, feel that your children shouldn’t be wearing something, then enforce that on YOUR child, not on everyone elses. They have the right to raise their child as they see fit, as long as they aren’t harming your child.

Whether students wear uniform or not to school doesn’t really make a difference on their performance in classes. I wear uniform every bloody day and i don’t see my grades sky rocketing. Quite the opposite in fact ;_;... Where as my friend wears Jeans some days and her grades are just fine.

Uniform doesn’t really matter, you don’t keep your brains in your pants.

i think that more people would be more comfortable in thier pajamas then jeans at schools

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