The Foundation for Establishing METCO
On 14 April 1965, the Board of Education's Task Force on Racial Imbalance (Kiernan Commission) released a report stating that 59% of Massachusetts's non-white students attended Boston schools and 45 of of the 55 racially imbalanced schools were in Boston. Among the efects of this segregations, the Commission found four of particular note:
1. Black students had lowered motivation, resulting in impaired confidence
2. Segregated schools encouraged racial prejudice among the children.
3. Segregated schools presented an inaccurate picture of life to Boston students.
4. Segregated schools resulted in an inferior education in predominantly black schools.
Subsequently, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Racial Imbalance Act on 30 June that outlawed segregation of all Commonwealth schools. Gov. Volpe signs Racial Imbalance Act into law on 18 August and required all school committees in the Commonwealth to submit a plan for the elimination of segregated schools. Any committee that fails to do so will have state aid withheld.
METCO's administration is represented by meeting minutes from 1966 to 1968. They show the founding of the program and key decisions about funding, placement and expansion.
METCO Founding and Meeting Minutes
The METCO program was formed in response and began to bus about 220 black students to seven suburban school districts, including Wellesley, Braintree, Arlington, Lincoln, Brookline, Newton and Lexington. The program is funded, at a cost of about $140 per pupil by federal and private grants.
This document is a copy of the plan of action to begin establishing the METCO program.
The following 7 documents gives information about the METCO Board and Executive Committee discussed at the inception of the program.
29 August 1966: METCO Board of Directors discuss funding and participation in this meeting. The board focuses on federal and state funding to pay for the 220 initial students participating.
Other topics discussed:
Community Committee Chairperson discussed asking local media not to obtain pictures or information about particpating students.
Welfare of the students in host schools and the schools responsibility of making their adjustment easier.
This early Board of Directors meeting highlights additional communities who want to participate in METCO, state legislation, program evaluation and community coordination.
METCO was not able to expand to Corcord schools due to budget constraints but able to expand into Lincoln schools.
This income and expense report shows how much money was coming into the METCO program in the beginning and how little it cost to run the program with the initial 220 students. The vast surplus was most likely intended for the expansion in the coming years.
13 September 1966: This meeting mostly dealt with funding and legislative issues after the first year. The community Coordinator also spoke on staff orientation at host schools.
Other topics discussed:staff reports on transportation funding, and the passage of H.3509 the "METCO bill"
A letter from the Board of Education to METCO encouraging the expansion of the program with cautious optimism.
The Executive Board meeting discussed the Carnegie Foundation Grants, evaluation of the budget, tuition rates, and a possible of assistance from Harvard College in a five-year educational policy development program.
Items discussed in this meeting include: more staff, teacher training grants, tutors, expansion into new communities with more students, state budget and transportation needs.
A letter from METCO directors to the MA Board of Education that gives a background of the program, METCO's aims, and the cost per student.
This follow up report is given in 1975 and shows how much the METCO program had grown in 9 years. It discusses the possibility of METCO expanding into vocations-technical schools.
Of particular note, this meeting held in 1975 shows a delegation from METCO that went to Washington, DC to discuss the forced bussing issue with Congress. the Daly-Sullivan Bill and METCO officials meeting with the Civil Rights Commission.
METCO's Research and Evaluation Process in the Early Years
METCO wanted to prove that the program had a positive effect on the participating students, their siblings, and the community the students resided in. This independent evaluation looked at mostly anecdoctal evidence of the program's success. Testing of students to see if they were "keeping up" with white students began directly after the first year of METCO, However, sociological evaluations of the program don't take place until much later.
METCO's Research and Evaluation committee gives a report of effects of the METCO program that were not evaluated by the committee.
The following two documents shows how METCO orginally planned on evaluting the program.
The METCO Research and Advisory Committee outlines areas for the evaluation process to investigate, from the students themselves to the Board members.
METCO Report on Suburban Education for Urban Children
Broken down into several sections, this documents give a program overview, support and opposition, community participation and evaluations.
The sections are below:
Section I: Program Overview
Section II: Public Support and Opposition
An understanding of the reactions to METCO exposes the complex relations between race, class, and geographic location in the Greater Boston area as well as changes in societal opinions towards school integration and affirmative action programs across the country.
Section III: Media Support and Opposition
The following documents show the support and opposition that METCO included in their report.
Supporters featured are radio and television editorials from WEEI, WBZ, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and the Worcester Telegram.
Oppostion to METCO in this document comes mostly from residents in host school districts.
Section IV: Community Participation
METCO shows the "grassroots organizations" that were involved.
Highlighted on this page is the Roxbury Community Committee and the Roxbury Community Council.
The Roxbury Community Committee consisted of parents who were looking for information about host schools and transportation and evolved into a parental support groups with meetings and social activities.
The Roxbury Community Council were parents involved in the above organization and served as a liason to other non-school community groups.
Section V: Evaluation
METCO's report also highlights their plans for the evaluation process.
This report came out in 1967, after the first year of the program had ended.
METCO wanted to make clear that the program was not organized with research in mind. They outlay their goals, which METCO does admit could become the focus of research. However, METCO does have to evaluate students in order to continue funding for expansion.
The following criteria were used:
Vocational and Educational Aspirations
METCO Building Respect and Interracial Understanding Urban -- Suburban
This internal report of METCO acknowledges the issue of METCO students being treated differently in their new schools and how teacher training could be the key to solving the issue. Released during the second year of the program, METCO considered having both Black and white parents of students included in the training
The report begins with outlining the problem of integration of the schools as part of the general lack of the school system to support their teachers along with the feelings of racial isolation the METCO student may feel.
The objective of the teacher training is to work in groups to increase the understanding of the isolation of students and recognize potential problems in the classroom.