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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

School uniforms looking likely in Pinellas

5

October

Pinellas students, we hope you like navy blue and khaki. Because it's looking more and more likely that you’ll be wearing those colors a lot next year.

With one strong exception, a clear majority of Pinellas County School Board members indicated at a workshop Tuesday that they support Superintendent Julie Janssen’s plan for mandatory school uniforms in grades K-8.

“It’s a great, clear message ... that we’re about academics,” said board member Robin Wikle.

But board member Linda Lerner said uniforms were only “window dressing” to mask deeper, more difficult problems.

“Our fundamental schools are doing just fine without uniforms,” Lerner said, saying some of those schools had a “hybrid” uniform policy. “What are we doing with disruptive students? That’s the issue.”

Janssen called for school uniforms two weeks ago as one part of a multi-faceted proposal to boost student achievement. Currently, 23 Pinellas schools require uniforms, but Janssen’s plan would make them mandatory in every elementary and middle school.

It’s not a done deal. Board members used a uniform policy from Osceola County as a starting point for Tuesday’s debate. Now district staff will craft a draft policy, using suggestions from board members and, possibly, input from parents and others who are likely to speak at two public meetings next week on the student achievement plan.

The board is scheduled to review the draft policy at another workshop Oct. 28.

Do you think school uniforms will boost students' scores? Vote in our poll, then share your views below.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 7:45pm]

    

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