From Image USA Magazine, August 2011 issue - pages 48-50:
In today’s economic climate, everyone is trying to save money. This is a sentiment that hits especially close to home for parents sending children to private schools, which account for nearly a quarter of all schools in the United States and admit over five million students annually. As tuition rates are on the rise at many community yeshivahs, parents and school administrators are looking for ways to ease the financial strain of educational costs.
Joe Levy, Director of School Sales at CookiesKids.com, has the inside scoop on which and why yeshivahs are making the switch to school uniforms. He first noticed an increase in school uniform policy enforcement when one of Brooklyn’s largest schools, Magen David Yeshivah, decided to institute such a policy for the upcoming school year. Soon after, other schools in the community began inquiring about uniforms, considering the prospect of adopting a similar policy in the fall.
"With tuition rates rising in the community, shopping for fashion clothing as school wear just adds to the cost of education," Levy said. "When schools switch to uniforms, it ensures parents will save money."
Levy heads up the uniform sales department at CookiesKids.com which caters to over 2,000 schools, a number that shows no signs of shrinking. Because the company has a nearly endless inventory of tailor-made school uniform styles, price points and sizes available, Levy has been able to provide for a variety of school uniform policies, no matter how specific.
Without question, the social impact of school uniforms can have a profoundly positive effect on children. “They have so many pressures right now, and one less thing they have to worry about with school uniform policies is what to wear,” said Levy. “It keeps kids on a more even playing field.”
Jack Shammah, the Director of Marketing and Operations at CookiesKids.com, agrees. He’s received similar feedback from parents and children about the benefits of uniforms. “It provides a sense of confidence in children when they see their peers in the same clothes. They can excel at other things without being conscious of their clothing,” Jack said.
In addition to easing peer pressure and self-confidence issues in children and saving parents money on trendy, designer clothing purchases, advocates of school uniforms cite a number of other reasons why they are a positive influence on the educational process. Uniforms make it easier for students to get dressed for schools in the morning, reduce discipline problems in the academic environment, and help set an atmosphere of modesty and professionalism.
They also help instill and promote school spirit and pride, facilitate a sense of unity among students, and, perhaps, most importantly, increase students’ self respect. Students’ behavior and attitudes toward academics improve because their own expectations of themselves become higher. There’s a certain level of reverence that must be observed and maintained when wearing your school’s uniform.
According to Levy, shirts and sweaters with embroidered school logos and gym clothes with screen printed mascots - all in the school’s colors - go a long way toward building that sense of belonging. When kids have a uniform on, they’re recognized as a proud student of their school.
While some may argue that school uniforms suppress individuality, the prevailing thought is that pupils are still very much capable of self-expression when dressed in uniform. Students can make their uniforms fashionable thanks to unique choices in hairstyles, shoes, socks, ties, and accessories. It’s in minor details such as these that students possess the freedom to differentiate and distinguish themselves. Rather than seeing uniforms as an attempt at mass conformity, students recognize the potential to be even more creative and expressive. The thing that must always be remembered is that attitude is very important; if students feel good about themselves, they will act accordingly.
Lower financial burden, the lack of distraction and competition, the development of one’s self-respect, and the fostering of community spirit are just some of the many positive reasons why the idea of uniforms is attractive to schools like Magen David Yeshivah. Their decision to mandate school uniforms for the upcoming school year indicates a strong dedication to getting their students back to the business of learning. Perhaps it is a decision that more schools will adopt in the near future.
For more information on school uniform options, visit www.CookiesKids.com or call (877) 94-Cookies.