Dear American Schools, Less is More

A Critique of American Schools
With Special Focus on the Administrators and Parents Enabling the Problem

[a re-telling of two previous posts]

The Problem Stated: More for Less
American parents and administrators tend to think that a school is a catch-all place for the surrounding community. A school can:

  • Make a name for itself in athletics,
  • Host all kinds of fundraisers and community events,
  • Have a fine arts program to rival Broadway,
  • Be known around the community for its excellent child care,
  • Host carnivals and celebrations,

but none of those things – none – is academics.

A school is meant . . . to be a school. Learning, the endeavor and focus of academics, is the sine qua non of any and every school. Athletics, community, parties, and day-care are tertiary to that job.

The Problem Spreading: More for Less in More Places
American schools have largely bought this summas scola philosophy. Our schools want to be the place where everything happens, they want to provide it all, they want to be the center of students’ lives. Yet they fundamentally, historically fail in the most important area of all: learning.

The well-documented downfall of academics in the American classroom can likely be traced back to this: schools no longer view academics as their primary, all-encompassing function. They leave academics nominally at the top, while becoming more concerned with chorus recitals, basketball games, community involvement, and various other extracurriculars.

Spread the Remedy: Less is More
The remedy is the simple clarity of focus. One thing is your job, schools. One thing is your job, administrators. One thing is the school’s job, parents. It’s called learning. Demand that your schools focus on this and only this. Send your students, parents, and teachers home after 8.5 hours and let them be who God has called them to be: children, parents, husbands, wives, neighbors, church members, friends. Your school isn’t the center of their world, so it mustn’t be the hub of their lives.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

3 Responses to Dear American Schools, Less is More

  1. Good word. We need schools that teach kids how to think not just regurgitate information.

    • B Treece says:

      Absolutely. I would recommend checking out Kevin Washburn, in writing or in person, at his website called “Clerestory Learning.” He is an excellent, God-sent resource on teaching critical thinking in K-12 schools.

      Thanks again,

  2. Pingback: A “Less is More” Diagnostic for American Schools « Your Cross on My Back

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