I suppose that I should be happy that, at least, I don' have to order from a catalogue and can purchase them at places like Walmart or Kohls, deciding how fancy or nice I want them to be and also can control the cost a little bit, but I'm not happy at all and here's why:
Growth- Kids- especially younger kids, grow at different rates. What might fit my child at the beginning of the year, may not fit my child in the middle of it. That means, if they grow, I'll have to purchase more. I also just can't hand down the uniforms because my boys are built differently. One has wide hips and the other one hardly has a hip to hold his pants in place.
Unavailability- If I have to purchase more uniforms during the middle of the year, guess what!!! It's very difficult to find them. My kids have to wear navy blue pants with a light blue, dark blue, or white collared shirt. It's a little easier to find the boys collared shirts, but it's almost impossible to find shirts for my daughter. If you're going to make parents buy uniform clothes that you don't personally sell, strive for khaki or tan colored pants. Those are out year round. No one wears navy blue pants unless you're shopping a colorful aisle in the adult section. Kids get kind of stiffed for things they need.... like raincoats. (That's a story for another day).
Price and Clutter- It isn't very cost effective. Instead of just having to buy your kids regular back-to-school clothes, you have to buy your kids clothes for home and clothes for school. If we never went anywhere, I could just let my kids wear pjs when they get home, but momma needs to get out of the house or she loses her sanity and people like to comment on the things your kids wear all the time.... that one time my daughter paired a pink Minnie Mouse dress shirt with red, plaid bottoms comes to mind. It's also hard enough to do laundry and put clothes away. This just piles more things to do on us. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who can work while I can do housework stuff whenever I want to, but there are single or working parents that don't have time to do it when it should get done.
Uniforms as an Equalizer?- I know that Uniforms are supposed to be an equalizer, but they really aren't. Uniforms are expensive and for those who thrift shop to save money, they aren't really going to find something nice for grade school kids. Everything is going to be faded or have holes in them because grade school kids play rough and chances are, those uniforms get worn more than once in a week, so washing multiple times fades them too. I've never found a nice pair of uniform clothes in the boys section, but I have found something in the girls, it was just stretched out and hung on my daughter like a poncho.
Some kids are going to go to school in really nice uniforms, while others are going to go in looking frumpy and out of place. IF kids were able to wear regular clothes, it's so much easier to find nice, hardly been worn, clothes at a nice resale shop, and no one has to know they weren't bought new.
Yes, I know that there are programs for parents to be able to get their kids uniforms funded for them, but not everyone meets the requirements and those who make just a little more than the top line, have to pay an arm and a leg.
Personalities Still Shine Through- When you use the argument that uniforms reduce the attendance in gangs and stops kids from dividing into clicks, I think you're delusional! Kids have personalities that draw and attract other kids. EX: My oldest son is a social butterfly with ADHD. Kids are drawn to him and he could make friends with anyone he wants, but the friends that he wants to make are the kids who keep getting themselves in trouble because they are the ones who grab attention, too.
You can see this example in movies. Have you ever seen Princess Diaries? Superstar? Students are still divided and kids can still be hurtful.
Even if uniforms stopped the segregation in school, neighborhoods, relatives, and family friends are probably the BIGGEST influence when it comes to how children behave. Kids still see others outside of school, too, and so there is still the chance of gangs gathering together. Think of the Mob- You had some who were dressed in fine Italian suits while others were dressed more casual. They still looked like ordinary people and even though they may no acknowledge each other in public, things still happened behind the scenes.
A Call to Action- While buying uniforms probably helps the government because it causes families to purchase extra sets of clothes, it may not always be cost efficient for a family. "Well, keep you kids out of private school and you can avoid that!" I wish it were that simple, but ALL of the public schools in this area require uniforms and it's just a regular, not upscale area, too. "You can homeschool your children." - That's not so simple either. I don't have the patience of the motivation to educate my children the way that they should be educated. We make them read at home and help them with the homework that they have EVERY NIGHT (Not sure when sending a kindergartener home with homework everyday became normal), but I'm not someone who was called to teach. That's why we have teachers. I think the one good, unarguable reason to have uniforms in the school is to differentiate if a person is a student, parent, teacher, or outsider. But you know, anyone could pick up an outfit and fit right in. (Ask all of those people who go to Target in red shirts and have to explain to a customer that they do not work there). I guess it wasn't unarguable at all.
Left: Two kids in uniform on a cool morning- Right: Pjs all day!