Boston's Metco program will now bus random minority students into suburban schools

In the Metco program, Boston students are bussed to suburban schools. A limit of 100 students per school is observed so that the bussed students do not wreck the suburban schools.  So the number of minorities wanting to get their children on the program greatly exceeds its limits. Those who apply soonest are the ones who make the grade.

This means that parents who are organized and think ahead get the available slots.  And that of course selects for brighter parents, who tend to have brighter and more organized children.  So such students cause minimal disruption to their host schools

And we can't have that!  The Leftist fixation on destroying anything they can has now invaded this program too.  Students will now be chosen randomly for the program, thus injecting a big dose of ghetto into otherwise orderly schools.  The talk is of fairness.  The glee is over how disruptive the new arrangements will be.  The old compulsory bussing program got knocked out by white flight so this revives at least a part of it

The days of Boston families signing up their children for the Metco program as soon as they are born are now history.

Massachusetts education officials have given the voluntary school integration program permission to choose students through a lottery instead of on a first-come first-serve basis, in an effort to bring more fairness to those who get in. Under the changes, announced Monday, parents will be able to submit applications only in the fall for the following school year.

“This is a very historic moment for Metco,” said Milly Arbaje-Thomas, chief executive of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, which runs the program. “We now will be able to meet all constituencies in all neighborhoods, whether they are long-term residents or newcomers. We want a student population that is more reflective of Boston’s demographics.”

The new system, which was originally proposed earlier this year, will be phased in over the next two admission cycles, starting with students seeking slots for the 2020-21 school year. Applications will also shift from paper to an online portal. Families, however, will still be able to apply in person at the program’s Roxbury office.

Metco, which enrolls 3,300 Boston students in 33 suburban districts annually, has often been held up by researchers and policy makers as a successful way to voluntarily integrate public schools. A Harvard University researcher this winter found that Metco students had higher high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates than their peers in traditional Boston Public Schools and charter schools.

The children are bused from Boston to the schools in the suburbs. The state spends about $20 million annually to fund Metco in Boston and another program in Springfield, although suburban districts spend their own money on the program, too.

The program’s success has fueled a fever-pitched frenzy to get in, resulting in a waiting list of 15,000 students, about half of whom were infants or toddlers. Program staff filed away paper applications in the order they were received and for the specified school year.

But the program also has been plagued with questions over the fairness of its application process and whether it is truly serving students with no other options. That’s because the program tends to enroll a student population that is more affluent than the one in the Boston Public Schools.

The program also has failed to keep pace with the changing diversity of Boston, enrolling mostly black students at a time when the city has seen a big infusion of Latinos and other ethnic and racial groups.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education formally approved the new application process on April 30. The program has largely purged its waiting list.

“We appreciate the thoughtful approach that Metco Inc. has taken, and we believe these changes will help bring clarity to the Metco enrollment process in Boston,” said Jacqueline Reis, a state education spokeswoman.

Families hoping to secure seats for their children for fall 2020 can apply between Oct. 2 and Dec. 31. The lottery will take place in January. Children who don’t win a seat will need to reapply for a subsequent school year.

More changes could be on the way. Arbaje-Thomas said the program will be drafting specific admission criteria. Currently, the program refers applicants to specific districts, which have some discretion in making admission offers.

“We are trying to keep the program viable and alive for another 50 years,” she said. “In order to do that you have to modernize.”


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