Skip to Content

Great Public Schools Criteria

The National Education Association (NEA) believes that all students have a basic right to a great public school. The Great Public Schools (GPS) Indicators framework strives to advocate for the policies and practices integral to a school’s and student’s success. The framework is NEA’s vision of what great public schools need and should provide and is the product of over three years’ worth of collaboration and research. NEA’s vision acknowledges that the changing global economy requires a change in the criteria to prepare all students for the future.

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.
  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.

We believe 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 integral 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 on designing 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 with all stakeholders working together, can we eliminate inequities, close the achievement gap, and elevate achievement for all students.



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, 658 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, 347 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, 365 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, 632 KB, 2 pgs.)
Adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding.
Download the Parent Brochure: School Funding ( PDF, 442 KB, 2 pgs.)

Standards and Curriculum ( PDF, 478 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, 593 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, 368 KB, 2 pgs.)
Parental, family, and community involvement and engagement.
Download the Parent Brochure: Family and Community Engagement 
( PDF, 548 KB, 2 pgs.)

 


Methodology

The GPS Indicator Framework is the result of three years’ of research and collaborative sessions with education stakeholders. A panel of academics and practitioners conferred on components integral to a successful, great public school. These components were then tested and validated via a review process that included triangulation and an independent review committee. The final product is seven criteria, 32 sub criteria, and over 200 research and evidenced-based qualitative and quantitative indicators at the state and district levels. Read more about the Methodology for GPS Indicator Framework.

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.

RELATED ITEMS

Does Your Child Attend a Great Public School?

Parents want their children to attend a great school, and every student deserves a quality education. But how do you really know if a school is meeting its students’ needs? NEA has made it easy by releasing its Great Public Schools (GPS) Indicators Framework.


Great Public Schools Network

The GPS Network is a place where educators will join together to share their ideas in interactive communities, collaborate on strategies and form professional learning communities.


Raise Your Hand for Public Education

NEA is issuing a renewed call to action—Raise Your Hand—a national initiative to mobilize educators, parents, and community leaders who share our commitment to ensuring the success of all our students.