With the recent decline in student enrollment and facing a major budget crisis, Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Theresa Weatherall made some drastic cuts within the district and created a plan for improvement.  The Transformation Plan was implemented as a way to not only improve the standards of education within the district, but also create an environment the best suited the students.
One big step in the Transformation Plan was the implementation of mandatory uniforms for all students over the next three years.  The use of uniforms has been proven to 1) increase the focus on teaching and learning 2) reduced distraction, peer pressure, and behavioral issues 3) strengthened school pride and 4) improved school safety.

Opponents of uniforms contend that uniforms 1) violates a student’s right to freedom of expression 2) are a ‘Band-Aid’ for the real problems plaguing a district 3) are an unfair financial burden for poor families and 4) make students targets for bullies from other schools.

With the many changes developing in the district, uniforms create a huge impact on the ability of the district to provide every student the best possible environment for learning.  This also further encourages the district to follow their belief that all children can reach their academic potential through effort, high expectations, and quality teaching.  Why not give the uniforms a try?  If uniforms can give the students more opportunity, a greater ability to focus and obtain a better grade point average, and build a foundation of education that can take them through graduation and improving their lives, why wouldn’t a district use them?

Although the Grand Rapids Public School district is facing a lot of changes and improvements, uniforms are one step in the right direction to improving the lives of the next generation of students.

Blog post by GRAPE Social Media Contributor Ryan Elwell

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