Creating integrated environments for students and families to appreciate diversity, find common ground, and prepare young people to become global citizens.
Since its founding during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, the METCO program has enrolled tens of thousands of Boston students of color in predominantly white school districts, creating the opportunity for students in those districts to experience the advantages of learning and working in a racially and ethnically diverse setting.
In September 1966, seven towns (including Lincoln) inaugurated the METCO program by accepting students from Boston. The program continues in operation and currently enrolls approximately 3,400 students in 35 suburban school districts. METCO is the largest and second oldest continually running voluntary desegregation program in the nation.
Today, Lincoln has the highest percentage of Boston students in the 33 participating suburban districts. There are roughly 90 children from various Boston neighborhoods enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade at the Lincoln Public Schools.
In the early 1960’s, Lincoln had a summer program that brought 20-50 children from Roxbury to Lincoln to attend Audubon camp programs. Families in Lincoln hosted these children in their homes so the children could be close to camp and in the “country” for a couple of weeks each summer.
At the same time, the legislature and Boston public school boards were wrestling with the quality of the public schools in Boston. Through the connections made in the summer camp and churches, 10 students from Boston were identified and welcomed into the Lincoln Kindergarten. There was no formal program and no special funding that year. Determined individuals from Lincoln drove the children to school and home again everyday.
In 1965, citizens from Lincoln, Boston and several suburban communities worked to pass legislation to enable children to attend schools in cities and towns other than that in which they resided. By the end of December 1966, a basic program was defined and named – The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO), funded by the US Department of Education and the Carnegie Corporation. The first 220 students, aged 5 to 16, rode buses from Boston neighborhoods to schools in Arlington, Braintree, Brookline, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, and Wellesley.
From the Massachusetts Department of Education
The Statewide Program that Lincoln participates in
Lincoln Public Schools METCO Program
Parent Board for the Lincoln METCO Program