Mo. Senate backs potential for preschool ratings

      Missouri senators have endorsed legislation that could lead to the development of a preschool rating system by private or nonprofit groups. The bill given initial approval Wednesday comes two years after a law was enacted barring the creation of a preschool rating system by the state, higher education institutions or quasi-governmental entities. The new legislation leaves intact the prohibition on government involvement but would allow publicly funded preschools to participate in a rating system run by a private or nonprofit group. Bill supporters say rating systems can help parents decide where to send their young children. Two years ago, some lawmakers had raised concerns that a state rating program could have resulted in some early childhood centers becoming ineligible for state-subsidized child care.