Parents Weigh Pros and Cons of Preschool Rating Bill

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COLUMBIA - Missouri senators gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow private early childhood education programs to participate in a quality rating system. Currently, the law only applies to early childhood programs that receive state funding. The rating system would grade preschools based on quality of care and programs.

Regina Peters, director of the Academy of Early Childhood Learning on Providence road in Columbia, said she understands how the bill could be beneficial. She said most parents base their preschool decisions on word of mouth, so it would help affirm their choices and narrow it down.

"It is going to help parents be more informed when they choose a preschool for their child," Peters said. "We all know that where you send your child every day when you are at work is a huge decision that you want to be as informed on as possible."

Peters said while she sees the benefits, she still has some concerns about the bill regarding consistency of the ratings system.

"You want the data to be consistent based on who does it, who's the one rating it, so that parents will feel that it's a reliable system," Peters said.

Preschool parent Matt Eggerding said a ratings system would have been helpful when he was deciding where his child should attend.

"It would really help you narrow it down because going in to find a preschool, you don't know what you're going to get," Eggerding said. "You have to pay a lot of visits to a lot of places. It's a lot of word of mouth.  It would be nice to have a centralized location to get some information so you can narrow your options in advance."

Eggerding said if a ratings system is developed, he hopes it wouldn't hurt a preschool from one bad review.

To read the bill in full text, click here.

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