A “Less is More” Diagnostic for American Schools

Maybe you’ve already read how Less Is More for American Schools. Maybe you’re convinced that schools tend to focus on things that detract from learning rather than enhance learning. That’s not to say that athletics, fine arts, afterschool care, and carnivals can’t supplement academics – they’re just not meant to be the main thing.

Or are they? Here are a few questions to help you see where your school stands:

  1. Meetings: Whether it’s the school board, the PTA, staff meetings, or interviews, what feature of your school gets emphasized? Is it the music program, or math? Is it middle school band, or basic grammar? Is it athletics, or academics?
  2. Media and Literature: When your school produces a pamphlet or a handout for prospective families, do you focus on academics first, lightly mentioning extracurriculars, or do the extracurriculars become the curriculum of your literature?
  3. Evaluating Teachers: Do your administrators and parents tend to evaluate teachers based on extracurricular involvement (e.g., coaching, leading clubs, attendance at school events), 
  4. Parent Conversations: In talking to parents at your school, do they tend to focus on how their child enjoys class and its content, or how they like to play soccer afterschool?
  5. Planning: When administrators consider changes in your school, do they first consider how those changes will affect learning, or how they’ll affect lacrosse?
  6. Time and Family: Does your school encouarge, nay, demand, that teachers go home and spend time with their families, or that they stay at school every odd hour, participating in meetings, concerts, games, and activities?

When we answer these questions honestly, we find out whether our school is committed to “less is more” or “more is less.”


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.

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