By Nyesha Stone
If you had the option to choose between school uniforms or new textbooks for you children, what would you choose? Starting this fall Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) will be requiring their students to wear uniforms. On the outside looking in, many people don’t see this as an issue and it is because they don’t fully understand.
The new uniform policy states all MPS students must wear a uniform unless 66 percent of the school’s neighborhood opts out, or if the student’s parent writes the school a letter opting out. It not, then the student must wear the uniform, according to MPS’s website. According to students there are other things inside the MPS system that need to be changed, and the dress code isn’t one of them.
“Nobody asked the kids or considered our feelings,” said Amira Adams, a sophomore at Rufus King.
Adams said she doesn’t see the point of wearing uniforms because “people will find something else to talk about.” She’s not the only student who feels this way.
Senior Kayla Grant-Dixon and Sophomore Amelia Washington, of Rufus King, would rather see a change in their grading system and more qualified teachers.
With this being Grant-Dixon’s last year at Rufus King, she said she didn’t mind the policy because she won’t be affected by it, yet she knows it will affect everyone below her. The policy was created to prevent bullying, but the students don’t think uniforms will make a difference.
“Make bullying a bigger issue,” Grant-Dixon said. “Right now, it’s just a topic we speak on in class.” Although the three girls only represent a small portion of the MPS system they’re opinions do matter. They are not the only students that feel this way, and it only seems this way because no one has actually reached out to the students, the ones who will be most affected by the policy.
Instead of the uniforms, the girls would rather go back to MPS’s old grading system and eliminate one they have now: standard base grading. With this system, homework doesn’t matter. With this system, the only thing that counts towards their grade is quizzes, test and big projects. Most of the teachers do not know how to work the system properly so they the students aren’t being graded properly. They also have a lack of “good” teachers. One of the girl’s recalled coming to class to learn, and rather sat in a dark room with her classmates as her teacher put his head down. There were many times the girls felt they weren’t receiving the education they deserved, but could do nothing about it. When they went to administration about their problems, they were told to self-teach themselves. The school system has focused on clothing, while the students are focused on finding a way to learn. “We’re not going to pay attention,” said Washington. “We’re going to be thinking about going home to change.”
Washington, Grant-Dixon, and Adams want people to understand, especially MPS, that “you can’t make a public school like a utopia.” MPS has real issues that need to be addressed and according to their students they’re addressing the wrong issues.