History and Purpose
The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) is a state-funded educational program designed to eliminate racial imbalance through the busing of children from Boston and Springfield to public school systems in surrounding suburban metropolitan communities.
METCO began over 50 years ago. Driven by the efforts of the Boston Chapter of the NAACP and a concern for quality education in the Black community, state legislation was passed that made racial imbalance illegal. School systems were penalized by having state appropriations withdrawn until suitable plans to alleviate racial isolation were approved by the state Department of Education. The Boston Public Schools were among the school districts penalized. During this time, suburban residents realized that their children were also inadequately educated because of racial isolation.
Many groups within the Newton community, including the citywide P.T.A. Council, Newton Fair Housing Committee, League of Women Voters, Roxbury-Newton Freedom School, the historically black Myrtle Baptist Church, and many individuals officially supported the unanimous vote of the Newton School Committee to participate in METCO in 1966. The Newton METCO Program began with 50 African American students in grades three through six, attending seven different schools in Newton.
The METCO Program is open to all children of African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American descent, who reside in the City of Boston and volunteer to participate. There are over 3,100 Boston students who attend 32 suburban school districts through the METCO Program.
The Newton METCO Program is comprised of a diverse group of students from broad ethnic, cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds with a range of educational strengths and needs. Newton, the largest METCO Program maintains a targeted enrollment of 415 students (within five percent). Students are enrolled in all 21 schools from Kindergarten through grade 12.