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Metco future uncertain

By Jason Kuo
Published: September 2007

Two Supreme Court rulings handed down in June could call into question METCO, Boston’s school integration program, as well as similar programs nationwide.

The rulings, made about school districts in Kentucky and in Washington state, may allow for legal action to be taken against programs that aim to desegregate schools and bring urban minority students into predominantly white suburban schools.   

If legal action were taken against the METCO program, the rulings could prove that the METCO program is unconstitutional and could force the program to allow white students to enroll. METCO administrators, however, are concerned that if they were to allow white students to enroll, school systems might terminate their participation in METCO.

The Newton Public School system has been a long time participant in the METCO program and has pledged to support the program despite the Supreme Court rulings.

“I believe in the METCO program. It provides excellent education for our Newton students who reside in Boston, and it helps our Newton residents learn to live and work in a society that is as diverse as the one they will face when they graduate,” Newton Public Schools Superintendent, Jeffrey Young, said.

“I am very proud of the achievements of our METCO students and intend to support them fully. We will not give up on METCO.” The METCO program was founded 41 years ago in order to desegregate Massachusetts schools and to enrich the educational experience of both urban and suburban students.

Nearly 3,300 students are enrolled in METCO and attend schools in other districts.

77% of students enrolled are black, 16% are Hispanic, and 4% are Asian.

According to the METCO website, over half of the METCO “receiving” communities have a more than 90% white student body.

As long as METCO in the Newton Public Schools remains unchallenged, the Newton Public Schools have pledged to support the program

“Until the Court rules otherwise, we in Newton expect to continue our ongoing support for the program as it currently exists,” Young said.

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