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White suburban school superintendents kneel to support black students, colleagues

Kneeling in Hyde Park

Among those kneeling: Metco CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas and Bedford School Superintendent John Sills.

Suburban school superintendents and Metco officials gathered in McGann Playground on West Street in Hyde Park this afternoon to decry the continued extrajudicial killings of black men and women and to call on educators to work even harder to ensure that black students can grow up to their full potential and that white students learn to not be racists.

Separately, Ramesh Nagarajah, who grew up in Roxbury and who attended school in Weston through Metco, writes about his life as the token black friend.

Meanwhile, up on Mission Hill staff at New England Baptist Hospital also took a knee:

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Comments

Strong recommendation (as a Dot resident and retired Weston teacher): Everyone should definitely read Ramesh's powerful essay that Adam links to above!

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Great read, thanks for the link.

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METCO itself is racist. It relies on Mass law that labels kids as either "white" or "non-white". It means a poor white kid from Boston is ineligible to participate in METCO, but a rich Asian kid from Boston is able to go to school in Weston.

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Voting closed 66

Is definitely unconstitutional.

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It's been around since 1966. You'd think one of your great legal minds would have gone to court already and won, if it were unconstitutional.

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Two of our foremost constitutional scholars are solemnly discussing the impact of racism, and how MGL should try to mitigate it via educational equality measures. This discussion is totally in good faith, in the tradition of the Areopagitica, and is a a shining beacon of hope for our troubled time. A little respect.

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"The size and the scope of the METCO program has changed dramatically, but the essential goals and logistics remain unchanged. However, a 2007 Supreme Court ruling has the potential to fundamentally alter the METCO program. Through the decisions Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, the Supreme Court determined that race cannot be a factor in school assignments. Should METCO be legally challenged by a white student, the program may be forced to use income instead of race to screen applicants. This would impact the program's usefulness as a desegregation tool. No lawsuits challenging the program have yet been filed, but several communities have begun to discuss whether income should be used instead of race.

Receiving school districts offer numerous tutoring, extended day, and counseling benefits exclusively to METCO students, despite constitutional issues with use of race to determine programmatic eligibility."

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So, did it affect the METCO program?

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It could be challenged in a few ways it just hasn't happened.
Offering tutoring, counseling and other services only to METCO Students could be challenged as discrimination by a parent not even from Boston, or a Boston parent could challenge it as discriminatory for excluding white children.

METCO itself has acknowledged the strong probability of losing if it's ever challenged in court.

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the premise of metco isnt to give poor students better opportunity.

its to give students from caucasion only school districts exposure to those that are different.

metco participants are usually students of helicopter parents which usually skews wealthier.

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And it's still unconstitutional in my opinion.
Ramesh Nagarajah and 2 siblings got slots in Metco, is that unusual? 3 kids from the same family?

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According to the Metco blueprint, Ramesh and siblings are labeled as 'black'. That is an insult to African-American children that are applying to this program.

Indians are technically Asian, not Nubian. So this family is riding the affirmative action train when they really don't belong.

It is also an insult to assume, because you are black, that you are necessarily poor or disadvantaged. Talk about condescending!

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Why is Metco in operation today. It's now 2020, Metco started in the 70's I belive, In the 40 + years, these towns have had plenty of time to build housing for Metco students, so the students could live and go to school in the same town, grades 1 to 12. No busing needed.

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In the 60's, there was a major civil rights movement. Why are people marching for civil rights in 2020? In the 50+ years, we have had plenty of time to fix these systemic flaws.

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Build lots of affordable housing in these rich white suburbs. Where are these rich white towns , that have not provided housing for the low income children of the Metco program. For 54 years according to one poster.

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Rich white suburbs have long fought large developments of any housing, including those who are attempted to be built through the aggressive affordable housing laws aimed to accomplish what you are suggesting.

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Or build more dense affordable housing in blue collar communities with lower density AND pour more money into those neighboring school systems aimed at academic improvement. What make you think people want to relocate their families away from friends, extended family and the community they're a part of and invested in?

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If a Latinx Dreamer applied and got accepted? Are they less deserving of a Metco seat than the child of an African-American lawyer or doctor?

Also, as a gentle reminder, hundreds of thousands of Asian-Americans were imprisoned for years in the 1940s - and well before then, they were also enslaved in sugarcane fields in American-controlled Hawaii. Before you say Asian-Americans do not "belong", think again. Just because a group of people have been remarkably successful in American society, it doesn't mean that there isn't a history of abuse and mistreatment that desperately needs to be reconciled.

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Metco is open to all minority children in Boston, not just blacks.

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Previous comment about Ramesh being labeled 'black' as an insult to African-Americans.

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Metco is open to all minority children in Boston, not just blacks

Which is why it's unconstitutional.
A white kid growing up in a single parent home while living in low income housing is not
offered the opportunity for a seat in Metco. Even if you think the program is noble and serves a purpose it is blatantly unfair unless it is offered to all Boston children.
If our schools were not so embarrassingly terrible Metco would collapse, who would put a kid on a bus at 6 in the morning to the Suburbs so a rich white kid could have a minority classmate if the school down the street was excellent? Parents want their children in Metco for a better education and everyone knows it, even if they won't admit it.

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I find some people's new distinction between Blacks and 'Other' minorities disconcerting. Oh, if you're Vietnamese or Mexican then you're now labeled as an Other. Just stop pigeon-holing people! Telling kids they are not the 'correct' kind of minority and are therefore excluded is gross. You're poor but 1/2 Hatian and 1/2 Polish, but look too light skinned so too bad for you! You don't qualify even though your family is lower income! Stop putting your biases on innocent children!

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Also please do not forgot that over 100,000 westerners were thrown into interment camps by the Japanese Empire, the boys and men used as slave labor. The women and girls sometimes used as sex slaves.

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Not to defend Imperial Japan (which was undoubtedly cruel and evil) but there’s a pretty big difference between taking POWs indiscriminately vs rounding up and imprisoning your own citizens solely based on their ethnicity.

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The US held all AMERICAN citizens and residents of Japanese descent in hinterland camps, including adults who had never set eyes on the islands of Japan. About 80,000 of the approximately 110,000 who were imprisoned were US citizens.

I’ll note they were citizens by birth because citizenship via naturalization by Asian immigrants at the time was not legal.

So please DO forget about your disingenuous comparison and get it the fuck out of here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_Americans

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...and to call on educators to work even harder to ensure that black students can grow up to their full potential and that white students learn to not be racists.

That is a pretty damn condescending statement on both parts. Did some speaker actually say that or somebody put it in the event promo?

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People are racists even if they don't know it, they invented this term "unconscious bias"
So even if you don't have a racist bone in your body you must be taught to think properly to rid yourself of the thoughts or actions of racism you are not even aware you are doing...It is all very Orwellian.

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Talk about 'can't win' or 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'.

I don't know a lot about Metco. I'm sure it could be improved, and I'm sure there are valid arguments to expand it, or cancel it. So let's debate.

But geesh, I assume participants value it, and that the host schools do their best to make it a good program.

People here are being so critical- what exactly would you do if you were suddenly governor, or Secretary of Ed, or a State Rep?

Don't forget, you have a budget, 239 other legislators, potential law-suits from every possible stakeholder, and competing priorities galore.

Quick. Fx it. As fast as you typed your comments. Fix it.

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When everyone knows at this point it is just a program for City Kids forced into shitty schools a chance to attend a better school outside of Boston.
Sending a few minority children to a school in Weston is not desegregating Weston schools, and to say it gives White kids in Weston the experience of being exposed to minority kids is both insulting and degrading to the Kids from Weston and the Kids from Boston..
So I would keep it but open it up to all and maybe make it income based, but that also could probably be challenged. The Best answer would be to Fix our own damn schools so METCO would be unnecessary. I don't think anyone would send their kid on a bus to a school far from home if our own schools were just as good.

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