METCO’s 50th Anniversary Focuses Attention on Pioneer’s Call to Expand & Improve the Program

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The recent 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) has drawn attention to the program, which gives about 3,300 Boston and Springfield students the chance to attend high-performing suburban schools, and to findings from two Pioneer Institute studies about METCO.
One of the Pioneer studies was cited in a lengthy feature on The 74, an education news site, and a July 31 Boston Globe editorial echoed Pioneer’s recommendations. These include that the state commission a gold-standard study to compare the performance of METCO students to those who remain on the waitlist and reform the program to make processes, like the one used to move children off the 9,000-student waitlist, more transparent and accountable.
Both publications noted that program participants, more than three-quarters of whom are African-American or Latino, dramatically outperform their Boston and Springfield Public Schools counterparts in terms of the percentage of students who achieve proficiency on state tests, college attendance, college success, and percentage of college graduates going on to graduate school. METCO graduation rates are far better than those in Boston and Springfield, and even outpace state averages.
Despite its success, per-pupil funding for METCO fell by more than 18 percent between 2007 and 2014. The time has come to correct that and reposition METCO to achieve its full potential.
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