Lance Scranton: Dress codes and expectations
Not since the local water controversy has an issue stirred up as much discussion and debate. Seems as though anytime local leaders make a decision involving local public services; opinions start flowing as fast as the Yampa during spring runoff. Dress codes are in the news again as the school board attempts to send a strong message about what exactly constitutes interference to the learning environment.
Hats have been an issue in schools for many years and I have taught through times when hats were removed as soon as students entered the building to what is practiced now which is that at the discretion of the teacher; students can either remove their hats or leave them on. Pants with holes or tears also appear to be a concern for those who make policy decisions for local schools.
Most public school issues that perplex parents are centered around the learning that is supposed to be taking place each day that students are in school. If standardized test scores are how learning is being measured and school’s effectiveness determined then something is usually in the works if policy can be used to help support learning.
A host of issues interfere with the prime objective of public education and hats or torn jeans don’t appear, on the surface, to be part of the problem. But, as our schools struggle with difficult budget decisions, it is sometimes necessary to take a proactive approach that is cost neutral. How students dress might not directly affect how they learn but schools should still reflect the values of those who are elected to make policy decisions.
I’m not entirely certain that hats and jeans are going to make or break the success or failure of our school district but it is important to remember that each of us has an interest in how our schools are perceived and what we are trying to do for each student. Schools will never satisfy every local but I can tell you from experience that increasing expectations for students is never a bad idea.
Teachers are constantly ridiculed for the lack of student success and while this has been an age-old critique; it should be noted that the street runs in both directions and student responsibility is an important part of the success equation.