Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series:



Printable Finding Aid

Search All Finding Aids

Archival Collections

Manuscript Collections
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
Collection
Title:Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. records
Dates:1961-2005 (bulk 1966-1995)
Call Number:M101

Historical Note

In 1963, a group of African American parents and community leaders organized to address the poor quality of education for African American students in Boston. Demands were made to the Boston School Committee to recognize and correct trends of de facto segregation in the Boston city schools. When refused, urban and suburban rights groups joined to protest the conditions. The Massachusetts Federation for Fair Housing and Equal Rights took an interest in urban-suburban educational cooperation and sponsored a meeting of more than 12 suburban school districts to explore the further development of such a program in November 1965. This meeting led to several others, and in December 1965, representatives of suburban school districts outlined the basic program that became METCO in 1966, a voluntary desegregation program that enrolls participating students in suburban school districts. It also functions as a service-delivery agency that provides support services to METCO students and their families. The METCO program pre-dates Federal District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr.'s court order seeking to end unlawful intentional segregation in the Boston public schools by eight years. The program was an attempt not only to bring educational opportunities to urban minority students but also to start the process of racial integration in suburban schools.

With the initial participation of seven suburban school districts, METCO, Inc. appointed its Board of Directors and central office staff in May 1966. METCO, Inc. offices opened at 178 Humboldt Avenue, Roxbury, with Dr. Joseph Killory as the new organization's Executive Director. On September 6, 1966, 220 METCO students took their first bus ride to 28 schools (K-11) in seven suburban districts. Funding for the program's first years came through grants from the Federal Office of Education and from the Carnegie Corporation. Ruth Batson became the Director of METCO in 1967 and served as such until 1970, when she was succeeded by Robert Hayden. In 1973, Jean M. McGuire became Executive Director, a position which she continues to serve in today (2005). In 1974, METCO, Inc. opened new offices at 40 Dimock Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

The Commonwealth became involved in funding the program in the early 1970's. At its peak, METCO was sending more than 3,500 students to suburban schools. However, as of 2005, 20 years of level funding and funding cuts have reduced the number of students enrolled in the program to about 3,330 in 35 school districts in metropolitan Boston and four towns outside Springfield. More than 50 percent of the program's annual 425 placements are in grades kindergarten, one, and two. 60 percent of students are African American, 30 percent are Hispanic, and 10 percent Asian, which is the composition of the Boston Public Schools' non-white student population. Currently, the program's waiting list exceeds 15,500 students.

METCO is governed by a Board of Directors made up of citizens from both Boston and the suburbs. Contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Education as the service provider for the METCO program, METCO, Inc. is reimbursed for services by the cities and towns that participate in its program. Funds are granted by the legislature and allocated to the communities to provide educational services for students who are enrolled in the suburban school districts. These communities then reimburse METCO, Inc. for its administrative expenses.

METCO's mission is "to provide, through professional leadership and voluntary citizen action, the development and promotion of quality integrated educational opportunities for urban and suburban students in the Greater Boston community and to work toward the expansion of a collaborative education program with the Boston and suburban school systems." The program sees itself as having the following purposes:

To provide the opportunity for an integrated public school education for children of color from racially imbalanced schools in Boston by placing them in suburban schools.

To provide a new learning experience for suburban children.

To provide closer understanding and cooperation between urban and suburban parents and other citizens in the Metropolitan Boston area.

METCO is one of three Voluntary Integration Programs in the Northeast and is the nation's oldest voluntary school desegregation program.
Chronology of Boston Metropolitan Area School District Participation
1966Arlington
Braintree
Brookline
Lexington
Lincoln
Newton
Wellesley
1967Concord/Carlisle
Framingham
Marblehead
Needham
Sharon
Walpole
Weston
1968Cohasset
Concord
Dover
Hingham
Lincoln-Sudbury
Lynnfield
Milton*
Natick
Reading
Scituate
Swampscott
Wakefield
Wayland
Westwood
1970Belmont
1971Foxborough
1972Dover/Sherborn
1974Beverly**
Georgetown**
Melrose
Randolph**
Rockland*
Winchester**
1975Sherborn
Sudbury
* No longer a METCO District.
** Approved by METCO but never funded.
Bibliography

http://metcoinc.org/index.html

Parent Handbooks, 1998-2002 (Box 1, folders 45 and 46).

http://www.doe.mass.edu/metco/