Approval of a plan for the state of Missouri to upgrade early childhood education is far from a sure thing in the state senate.
St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields says he might wait for two absent Senators to return to the Capitol before he calls for a final vote on his Quality Rating System bill. That’s the one that will rate child care programs on the quality of education they provide–one to five stars. Preliminary votes indicate some hostility to his plan. Shields might need those two votes to move his bill to the House.
One opponent, Chuck Purgason of Caulfield, says the program taxes parents who stay at home to raise their children…to finance a program that encourages people to put their children in day care. He says the state makes it "easier and easier and easier" for parents not to meet that responsibility.
Other senators complain Shields’ plan could cost day care centers more than they can afford to spend to get higher ratings. Senator Rita Days of St. Louis complains the bill could set up a system of haves and have notes.
Shields says pilot projects in Kansas City and St. Joseph prove early childhood education programs can be improved with the help of the state. His bill provides greater early childhood subsidies for centers with more stars but will not reduce subsidies to those that don’t improve.
It’s unclear when he’ll try to get a final senate vote on it.