The stature and status of public education in our nation as a whole, continues the competitive struggle to earn even a passing grade. Some recent examples. An Oliver North article last week reported that in a recent global geography survey of 18-24 year old Americans, 29-percent could not correctly identify the Pacific Ocean, and, unbelievably, 11-percent failed to locate the United States. And these were Americans! Oh, and let our successful dumbing-down continue. A recent McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum study revealed that twice as many Americans can name two Simpsons characters, as can name two First Amendment freedoms. And if youre ready for this, and, trust me, you arent, one in five Americans, 20-percent of those surveyed, believes that our First Amendment guarantees the right to drive a car. However, the First Amendment does preserve for all citizens the right to grow corn in your basement and to remain incredibly stupid, the latter right, obviously held sacred, by a growing number of Americans. After considerable study and wide-ranging input, our school board recently approved the recommendation to make school uniforms mandatory in all district elementary and middle schools this fall, and in all local high schools at the start of the following academic year. Numerous positives support the move to uniform clothing in school. For starters, it makes it easier to see who doesnt belong there, and tougher to hide weapons, reason alone to mandate uniforms in this irrational anger-driven, wacko-prone world of today. Other benefits include: improved classroom discipline and behavior, fewer distractions, a sense of togetherness, and giving our teachers more time to teach, and far less time spent being clothing police. Objections do exist, out there, regarding uniform clothing, most centered around imaginary First Amendment infringement, including one article titled, School Uniforms Lead To Fascism, written apparently by someone stuck well-down the food chain. Theres a still-pertinent 1969 Supreme Court decision, dealing with protest arm-bands, not uniforms, that concluded (quote): In the absence of valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. With all due respect to the Courts opinion, students today have every right, and in fact are encouraged, to learn and grow by expressing themselves in school, verbally and in written form. As juveniles, generally totally dependent on parents and community for financial support and well-being, thats more than enough Constitutional free speech protection at this stage in their young lives, thank you. Once of age, theyll have complete freedom to succeed, fail or dress foolishly. For now, adults are paying the freight and making the rules. Students can express themselves in their I-gotta-be-me clothing, on their own time and some other place. With the over-all unacceptable level of student outcomes in public education, at the national, state and local level, there are significant improvements that need to be made in student effort and academic performance, and all within a safe, secure learning environment. The uniform clothing requirement for area public school students speaks directly to many of the core improvement issues, and thats why I fully support this initiative. Its long past time students stopped showing-off outwardly, and begin showing-up mentally. Accordingly, I feel all parents, and especially our students, should fully accept and support any uniform clothing rule. Itll clearly help shift student focus from their looks, to their books, with a hoped-for critical payoff for our young people in both academic achievement and future success. What do yall think?