Louisiana, with its investment in growing the Quality Start system, stands in stark contrast to Mississippi, which is doing away with its child care quality rating program on December 31for financial reasons. By doing so, Mississippi is defying a national trend toward improved standards and increased accountability for early childhood systems.
Louisiana’s new tool, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, or CLASS, developed by Pianta and others at the University of Virginia, focuses only on teacher-student interactions. The system requires trained observers to sit through four 20-minute periods in a classroom, looking for evidence of productivity, teacher sensitivity, and regard for student perspectives. At least 13 other states include CLASS in their quality rating systems, according to the QRIS compendium, which gathers information about programs by state.