METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) is a voluntary program funded by the state of Massachusetts. Its goal is to expand educational opportunities and reduce racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic isolation by having students in Boston and Springfield attend public schools in participating communities.
Lincoln has been a leader in the METCO program since its 1966 inception and has the highest percentage of Boston students in the 33 participating suburban districts. Today there are over 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 Roxbury children 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. Additionally, three high school students from Roxbury came to live with host families during the school year so they could attend the Lincoln Sudbury High School. These programs helped friendships to form between families and churches in the two communities.
At the same time, the legislature and Boston public school boards were wrestling with the quality of the public schools in Boston. A group of Lincoln citizens and teachers worked out a plan to help some of the children in Boston. Through the connections made in the summer camp and churches, 10 young children 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 1965, a basic program was defined and named – The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO). Committees were set up to work on funding, long-range goals and community coordination. In 1966 several school committees in the suburban Boston area voted to participate in the METCO program. Lincoln was one of the first. Initially federal funding and foundation grants provided the funds for bus transportation and support staff.
METCO FAQs, from the Massachusetts Department of Education
METCO Inc., the program administrator