"Without meaningful social contact, talk of
tolerance and cooperation is nothing but an abstraction."--US
Federal District Court Judge Nancy Gertner regarding school intergration
Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program is a grant
program funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is a voluntary program
intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity, and reduce
racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public
school in other communities that have agreed to participate. The participating
host communities in the Springfield METCO program are East Longmeadow,
Hampden/Wilbraham, Longmeadow, and Southwick/Tolland.
Program has been in existence since 1966 and was originally funded through a
grant by the Carnegie Foundation and United States Office of Education. In that
year the first Metco legislation was filed, METCO Inc. was established, and
seven school districts began accepting the first two hundred Metco students.
Currently, there are about 3,300 students participating in 33 school districts
in metropolitan Boston and at four school districts outside Springfield.
and transportation costs are paid for by the Massachusetts Department of
Elementary & Secondary Education. When a child is accepted into the host
community, the child is treated as a community child, with all the same
expectations up through graduation. Many students have graduated with a host
community diploma and have gone to college.
is a high level of cooperation between and among the host communities that
provide the educational services and Springfield Public Schools. This
cooperation is evident in the Black College Tour, the summer school
opportunities and annual graduation celebration.
Participants in the METCO program are selected each spring by lottery to
fill vacancies declared by the host communities, most often in grade one. All
residents of Springfield are welcome to apply, however, due to the limitations
of the transportation provided by the host communities, bus routes will be
limited to the 01109 zip code area.