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Being "Politically Fashionable" In The Classroom

March 18, 2009 - Joselyn King
Will West Virginia's teachers now have to be as fashion-conscious as the legislatively-targetted Barbie?

Probably not, but they might soon have to adhere to a dress code when they stand before students.

State Sen. Ed Bowman, D-Hancock, has introduced legislation (Senate Bill 602) that would require county school boards to implement a dress code for teachers beginning with the 2009-10 school year. The dress code would have to be "uniform" throughout the state. (Meaning that the dress code must be the same in every county -- not that teachers must wear uniforms.)

The West Virginia Board of Education would be directed to create an advisory committee comprised of teachers, school employees, parents and students to create the dress code, and the legislation allows for certain casual or "dress down" days for pep rallies, school parties, school dances and for preparing classrooms at the beginning and the end of the school year.

O.K. On the surface this seems like a bill that's as superfluous as the plasticine "Barbie Bill," as there are far more pressing issues facing today's schools than teachers' wardrobes.

But it's a good place to start.

What's wrong with anyone who has a job -- particularly someone who works with the public -- taking the time to look the role and put forth their best face? They'll feel better about themselves and be more confident. They'll also probably do a better job.

Many teachers likely already know this, and already dress well.

But I'll bet students are somewhat less attentive when must stare at someone in high-wasted "mom" pants, an oversized print blouse and a hand-crochet vest. Or maybe the teacher is wearing a sweater with an oversized frog on it.

I'm sure there are teachers who think they don't make enough money to dress well.

C'mon. There are many people among us who make far less than their starting salary and still manage to make the grade.

It doesn't cost any more -- or take any more time -- to dress well than it does to simply wear clothes.


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