Dr. Etta Kralovec wrote the book Schools That Do Too Much:
Wasting Time and Money in Schools and What We Can All Do About It. An excerpt:
Everyone agrees that we’ve got to improve academic achievement in America’s public schools. . . . Here’s a bold proposition: Privatize school sports and other extracurricular activities, and remove all but basic academic studies from the classroom. Sound like sacrilege? . . . The United States is the only industrialized country where competitive athletics and extensive extracurricular offerings are sponsored and paid for by the public school system. . . .
The extracurricular activities, now deemed central to the mission of public schools, would have to be sponsored by other institutions and organizations. Get businesses, religious organizations, the YMCA and the Scouts to take responsibility for competitive sports and other extracurricular activities. . . . Schools are asked to do too much and end up doing too little.
We have all heard about how difficult it is to find leaders to run the nation’s schools. It’s not surprising. We ask principals to raise standards in mathematics, literacy and science, even while they must manage an elaborate physical plan that serves as a community theater, sports arena and orchestra hall. Learning the basics is often only a by-product of our public education system.