A Metco take-down

The headline on the Sunday Globe front-page story suggested the 50-year-old school integration program known as Metco was a mixed bag, but the story painted an almost uniformly dismal picture of students’ experience with the initiative.

“As Metco turns 50, students find promise, but also pain, in their suburban schools,” read the balanced headline atop Sunday’s print issue of the paper. But the story was almost all about the pain.

From the three students posing last year at Lincoln-Sudbury High School with a Confederate flag to the “white pride” sticker in the boys’ locker room there, the story suggested suburban schools taking part in the program are havens of intolerance — and sometimes worse. It highlighted the almost all-white teaching staff at suburban schools that are part of the program, and it said the examples of racial harassment or insensitivity experienced by minority students “are hardly unique.”

Metco, which stands for Metropolitan Council for Education Opportunity, is a voluntary program launched 50 years to provide better educational alternatives for students from Boston and Springfield and to increase the diversity of suburban schools that take part. Some 3,300 Boston and Springfield residents are bused to suburban district schools through the program.

The story said neither Metco nor state officials track racial incidents at suburban schools the program sends students to. Leaders of Metco, which is undergoing a leadership transition and searching for new office space in Boston, say they want to start an orientation program for parents in suburban districts, though it’s not clear exactly how that would necessarily change the school culture problems the story identifies. The state official who oversees the program says he’d like to see “cultural sensitivity” classes for staff at the schools.

The racial environment at the participating schools is made out to be so grim one wonders why students would endure the hours on school buses each day that many Metco students have to put up with. The story offers the uplifting tale of just one Metco student, who credits the resources at LIncoln-Sudbury High School with helping her chart a course she hopes will lead to medical school.

The story has a single sentence offering evidence of the positive impacts of Metco, saying students in the program score higher on MCAS and are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their counterparts in Boston. But it’s not clear whether this comparison involved any effort to match Metco students to peers. A longstanding criticism of Metco is that it tends to draw a self-selected population of more middle-class minority students from Boston.

In the end, the story seemed to suffer from an identity crisis and was as much about the overwhelmingly white profile of well-off, isolated suburbs as it was about the Metco program itself. At one point, it quotes Quincee Day, a June graduate of Lincoln-Sudbury High School, who called the school environment there “extremely toxic” and had the line “I do not feel safe at this school” appear as the caption under his yearbook picture. But Day lives in Lincoln and has nothing to do with Metco.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Howie Carr connects the dots between iron-fisted Senate president William Bulger’s treatment in the 1970s of independent-minded Sen. Alan Sisitsky, who died earlier this month, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s zero tolerance for dissent, on display most recently when he stripped Rep. Russell Holmes of a committee vice chairmanship for commenting on the succession talk set loose by the surprise departure from the House of DeLeo’s heir apparent. (Boston Herald) DeLeo — who claimed last week that Holmes’s demotion had nothing to do with his comments — says he just aims to have the House “operate as a team.” (Boston Herald)

Three Democratic reps say Gov. Charlie Baker is trying to have it both ways on Medicaid cuts — opposing them in Washington, but proposing them here. (CommonWealth)

Central Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing legislation to legalize the use of silencers to protect the hearing of hunters. (Telegram & Gazette)

Morris Berman urges state lawmakers to allow optometrists to assume a broader treatment role, which he says would save Medicaid about $20 million a year. (CommonWealth)

Haverhill profited handsomely from having Brian Dempsey at the helm of the House Ways and Means Committee. Now city officials feel the municipality can do well on its own. (Eagle-Tribune)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Herald News city editor Will Richmond says because of poor budget planning, Fall River city leaders left $195,000 in an account they likely can’t touch until the fall while making making more than a $1 million in cuts to the city budget.

The North Shore Community Development Coalition is trying to change the image of The Point section of Salem by having artists draw murals on many of the buildings in the area. (Salem News)

Somerville mayor Joe Curtatone unloads on the acting ICE administrator who threatened to flood so-called sanctuary cities with thousands of federal immigration officers. (Boston Herald)

Provincetown health officials call a halt to a sex shop’s offer of an erectile dysfunction drug. (Cape Cod Times)

The chairman of the Wellfleet Board of Selectmen resigned from a committee overseeing the restoration of the Herring River because it could increase the value of his home. (Cape Cod Times)
A massive fire destroyed a wood-framed apartment complex under construction in Waltham, the second fire of its kind in the region in a month. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins says new White House comms director Anthony Scaramucci was not exactly ready for prime time in his debut yesterday on the Sunday morning television news shows.

ELECTIONS

Boston mayor Marty Walsh officially kicked-off his reelection campaign on Saturday with a rally at Florian Hall in Dorchester. (Boston Herald)

The family of a man shot and killed in a crossfire says Lawrence mayor Daniel Rivera isn’t doing enough to crack down on gang violence. (Eagle-Tribune) Rivera can point to many initiatives the city has launched to address violence, but fear of crime persists and is one of the reasons Rivera is facing a tough election fight. (CommonWealth)

EDUCATION

A Globe editorial calls for fairness — and thorough scrutiny — in the investigation of Jane Sanders, the wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who arranged a $6.7 million loan as president of now-defunct Burlington College for the Vermont school to acquire a 33-acre parcel of lakefront land a year before she resigned under pressure.

Boston is one of six school districts nationwide that has been awarded funding from the Wallace Foundation for programs to aid students’ “social emotional learning.” (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Dr. Paul Hattis of Tufts University Medical School is having some jitters about the proposed merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health. (CommonWealth)

Flunking drug test: A survey of Massachusetts emergency rooms suggests most overdose victims are waving off a voluntary assessment intended to help connect them with addiction services. The assessment was included in the state’s recent opioid legislation after lawmakers balked at Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to involuntarily hold overdose victims for at least 72 hours in order to begin addiction treatment with them. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Officials with the MBTA pension fund, which is under fire from the Baker administration for poor returns, say the fund performed considerably better in the most recent fiscal year. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Edward N. Krapels offers three takeaways on the offshore wind procurement, a project whose value could approach $8 billion. (CommonWealth)

Three environmental and preservation advocates say the state’s national parks are in desperate need of additional funding, and they suggest using the proceeds from oil and gas royalties to plug the gap. (CommonWealth)

CRIME/CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A 33-year-old Brockton woman is under arrest and facing charges in connection with the murder of her boyfriend, whose body was found Friday night in his downtown Brockton apartment. (The Enterprise)

CASINOS

A Herald editorial backs a legislative move to allow casinos to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.

MEDIA

Are Red Sox television and radio announcers and commentators part of the media or paid cheerleaders for the team? David Price and Jackie Bradley Jr. apparently think the latter after Dennis Eckersley apparently had the temerity to offer insights that weren’t always laudatory. (Boston Globe)