Celebrating School Choice Week: The METCO Program

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On Day 2 of National School Choice Week, we take a closer look at METCO, which provides over 3,300 children in Boston and Springfield with access to high-performing suburban schools.

METCO, the nation’s longest-running voluntary school desegregation program, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. As our research has shown, test scores and graduation rates are higher for METCO students than their Boston and Springfield peers. METCO students have been making progress in closing the achievement gap in both 3rd grade reading and 6th grade math.

Despite its proven track record, METCO receives inconsistent funding from the state and districts. The program has a waiting list of approximately 10,000 students, due in large part to its demonstrable academic success. We must expand and reform this program. Read our research and opinion pieces below, and view video clips from our media appearances and of METCO students themselves discussing the rewards and challenges of participating in the program.

We’ll be sharing school choice success stories all week – join in the conversation on Twitter, using #SchoolChoice.

National School Choice Week is an annual celebration of the variety of high-quality academic options available to families across the U.S. Each day this week at Pioneer Institute, we’ll be highlighting charter public schools, the METCO program, digital learning, vocational-technical schools, and independent and parochial schools.

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WGBH News: “METCO Program: Should Funding Be A Priority?” Guests: Jim Stergios, Executive Director, Pioneer Institute, and Cheryl Maloney, Superintendent, Weston Schools

The Benefits of Being a METCO Student

Isaiah Davis, alumnus, Lincoln-Sudbury High School, and Jeffrey Alkins, alumnus, Newton South High School, share some of their favorite aspects of being a METCO student.
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The Challenges of Being a METCO Student
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Six decades ago, the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision sought to ensure that all children had access to good educational institutions. With the civil rights movement’s continued emphasis on education as central to economic freedom, 48 years ago the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) desegregation program was established to serve Boston and Springfield.
Today, as Boston public school students head back to school, many will experience the city’s new school assignment process, which shaves about one-tenth to two-tenths of a mile off the daily trip to school for kindergartners and pre-kindergartners. Meanwhile, 3,000 Boston METCO students will continue to travel five, 10, even 25 miles to attend public schools in Brookline, Lexington, Sherborn and other suburbs. METCO is part of the seldom told story of school choice in Boston..
Related Research

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