The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, referred to as METCO, is a voluntary school desegregation program funded by a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The METCO program brings children from racially imbalanced urban schools in Boston and Springfield to predominantly white suburban schools in nearby communities. The urban students and the suburban students study and learn together in racially, linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.
Approximately 3,300 Boston and Springfield students in grades K-12 take part in METCO. They attend schools in suburban communities that have voluntarily joined the program.
The METCO program has been in existence since 1966 and was originally funded by the Carnegie Foundation and the United States Office of Education. In 1968, after passing legislation, the funding for the program was taken over by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth provides funds annually through a grant voted on each year by the Legislature. There is no guarantee of this funding and it requires diligent oversight by METCO communities who lobby for funding on METCO Lobby Day each year in March.
The METCO program is the nation's largest voluntary desegregation program.
Marblehead has been a METCO community since 1967. It is the furthest out from Boston of any of the METCO school systems.