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Great Public Schools Criteria

The National Education Association (NEA) is committed to achieving great public schools for every student. Great public schools close achievement gaps, prepare all students for the future with 21st century skills, and create enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Embracing the Great Public Schools (GPS) Indicators Framework is one way to work toward this goal. . The Framework addresses the research and evidence-based resources, policies, and practices proven to narrow opportunity and skills gaps. Specifically, the Framework elaborates on the criteria integral to a school’s and student’s success.

These criteria are:

  1. Quality programs and services that meet the full range of all children’s needs so that they come to school every day ready and able to learn.
  2. High expectations and standards with a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum for all students. Quality conditions for teaching and lifelong learning
  3. Quality conditions for teaching and lifelong learning.
  4. A qualified, caring, diverse, and stable workforce.
  5. Shared responsibility for appropriate school accountability by stakeholders at all levels.
  6. Parental, family, and community involvement and engagement.
  7. Sufficient, equitable, and sustainable funding.

NEA believes these criteria will:

  • Prepare all students for the future with 21st century skills
  • Create enthusiasm for learning and engage all students in the classroom
  • Close achievement gaps and raise achievement for all students
  • Ensure that all educators have the resources and tools they need to get the job done.

Meeting these GPS criteria require not only the continued commitment of all educators, families, and community stakeholders, but the concerted efforts of policymakers at all levels of government, as well. Students, parents, educators, administrators, community leaders, and policy makers can all participate in advancing the conditions essential to a student’s and school’s success. All stakeholders have a responsibility to advocate for change around the indicators that are directly within their power to alter—students can demand support services; educators can work with administrators to design cross-department collaboration teams; families can call for equitable school funding; community leaders can approach schools on potential collaborations; and policy makers can implement higher standards for educator preparation programs.

The 3 million members of the National Education Association are spearheading the effort to achieve great public schools for every student. Only when all stakeholders work together, can we eliminate inequities, close the skills gap, and elevate achievement for all students.

How to Use the Framework

This chart is designed to give policymakers, educators, and advocates a framework to evaluate how well states, districts, and schools address areas critical to student success. The chart is designed similarly to a logic model—allowing states and districts to visualize the resources, policies, and practices fundamental to achieving student success. Success at the school level can be evaluated using the indicators provided in the row marked “outputs.”

The seven criteria—which represent general areas deemed critical to the success of public schools and students—are listed on the top row of the chart. The criteria are: 1) School Readiness; 2) Standards and Curriculum; 3) Conditions of Teaching and Learning; 4) Workforce Quality; 5) Accountability and Assessments; 6) Family and Community Engagement; and 7) School Funding.

In the row below the GPS criteria you will find several subcriteria (e.g. Appropriate Student Assessments), each corresponding to a single GPS criterion. These subcriteria represent the outcomes vital to closing opportunity and achievement gaps and preparing students for the future with 21st century skills. The sub-criteria are followed by the indicators that determine the extent to which states, districts, and schools address the GPS criteria.

The indicators are grouped by Resources, Policies and Practices, and Outputs. Resource indicators refer to the human capital, technical assistance, and funding that are sometimes needed for specific policies and practices to take place and be successful. Outputs, such as “Percentage of students with less than 10 absences in a school year,” are a result of the resources invested and the policies and practices implemented.

It is incumbent upon state policymakers and districts to collect and publicly report on indicators data disaggregated by district, school, and student subgroups. Indicators data can be used to develop school and district profiles, to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness, and better enable stakeholders to implement policy and practice changes at the state, district, and school levels, turning every school into a great public school.

For more on how to use the Framework at the state, district, and school levels, please review this Power Point (PPS, 4149 KB, 21 pgs.)



Policy Documents


Great Public Schools (GPS) Indicators Framework ( PDF, 2.86 MB, 5pgs.)
This chart is designed to give policymakers, educators, and advocates a framework to evaluate how well states and districts address areas critical to the success of public schools.

What Does it Take to Make My School Great? ( PDF, 5.3 MB, 2 pgs.)
Find out which seven components go into a great public school.

School Readiness ( PDF, 2,905 KB, 2 pgs.)
Quality programs and services that meet the full range of all children's needs so that they come to school every day ready and able to learn.
Download the Parent Brochure: School Readiness ( PDF, 484 KB, 2 pgs.)

Conditions of Teaching and Learning ( PDF, 1,264 KB, 2 pgs.)
Quality conditions for teaching and lifelong learning.
Download the Parent Brochure: Conditions of Teaching and Learning
 ( PDF,425 KB, 2 pgs.)

Accountability and Assessments ( PDF, 863 KB, 2 pgs.)
Shared responsibility for appropriate school accountability by stakeholders at all levels.
Download the Parent Brochure: Accountability and Assessments
 ( PDF, 523 KB, 2 pgs.)

School Funding ( PDF, 3,571 KB, 2 pgs.)
Adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding.
Download the Parent Brochure: School Funding ( PDF, 442 KB, 2 pgs.)

Standards and Curriculum ( PDF, 1,705 KB, 2 pgs.)
High expectations and standards with a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum for all students.
Download the Parent Brochure: Standards and Curriculum
( PDF, 478 KB, 2 pgs.)

Workforce Quality ( PDF, 1,896 KB, 2 pgs.)
A qualified, caring, diverse, and stable workforce.
Download the Parent Brochure: Workforce Quality
 ( PDF, 567 KB, 2 pgs.)

Family and Community Engagement ( PDF, 1,573 KB, 2 pgs.)
Parental, family, and community involvement and engagement.
Download the Parent Brochure: Family and Community Engagement 
( PDF, 548 KB, 2 pgs.)

 


Mobilizing to ensure opportunity, equity, and success for every student



NEA Secretary-Treasurer, Becky Pringle, sits down with the Coalition for Community Schools, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), National Urban League, and Dr. Ivory Toldson to discuss the NEA's vision of Great Public Schools (GPS). Panelists discuss indicators of a quality education, specifically, the NEA's evidenced-based GPS Indicators.

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