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Survey Data: The Parents of Lynnfield METCO Students

Recently, the Superintendent of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, a Boston suburban school system, proposed terminating a small program enrolling black students from Boston. The Civil Rights Project has prepared a special report from its 1995-96 survey of METCO (Metropolitan Council on Educational Opportunities) parents to show the aspirations and experiences of the African-American families from Boston who send their children to Lynnfield's schools.

The survey included all METCO families and had a very high (75%) response rate. In Lynnfield, it included data from the parents of 40 students, almost all of the transfer students. 72% of the children attending Lynnfield schools under the program had enrolled by third grade.

Highlights include:

  • Among the most important factors influencing parents' decision to send children to the suburban system were the promise of the suburban academic program (68% of surveyed parents) and preparation of their children for college (65% of surveyed parents).
  • Though families and students expressed concern about crossing the city's color line, they actually had highly positive interracial experiences. 93% of parents reported a good or excellent experience for their childen in "learning to get along with other groups."
  • The families participating in METCO expressed a need for more help in consolidating educational gains. 46% of students gave this as their highest priority for improving the program. 39% pointed to the need for better, more sensitive counselors.

The basic picture that emerges from the survey of the parents is one of a program that is an important success in a difficult setting but could be significantly better.

For More Information

Contact Gary Orfield at 617-496-4824 or Christine Sanni at 617-496-5873