Should students (k through 12) be required to participate in extra-curricular activities?

There are many benefits to after-school activities. First, students who participate in extracurriculars perform better in school. According to a National Center for Educational Statistics study, they had less unexcused absences (50.4% vs. 36.2%), had better GPAs (30.6% had GPAs above 3.0 vs. 10.8%), and were better in math and reading (29.8% were in the top quartile of an assessment vs. 14.2%). While this study is fairly old, it shows that students often do better in school when they are involved in an activity outside of the classroom. Second, students are more well-rounded when they participate in after-school involvements. Third, extracurricular involvements teach students skills differently. For example, leadership and team-work skills are often further developed through sports, plays, etc. Fourth, sports and other after-school activities often help students socially, and expand their friend networks.

Despite these benefits to after school activities, some argue that extracurricular activities are a distraction to students and take time away from time spent with their families. Further, these involvements may add pressure to students.

Currently many schools, including my old high school, are requiring students to partake in extracurricular activities in two out of the three seasons (fall, winter, and spring).

I am wondering if the caucus thinks that requiring students to engage in extracurricular activities is positive and a similar policy should be implemented in more schools. Or, should schools allow their students to choose whether to participate in after-school activities?