The longest running busing program in the nation, METCO started in 1968 to address school segregation and to create opportunity for under-resourced Black students in Boston’s public schools. BEFORE THE SUN COMES UP is a podcast exploring the creation of METCO, its legacy today, and what lessons we can take from it almost 60 years later when schools in the US are even more segregated than they were when METCO was founded.
An all voluntary, one-way busing program hardly serves as a test case for true integration, but METCO does give a partial view of what some of the challenges and successes of broader access to educational opportunity might look like. BEFORE THE SUN COMES UP, a reference to the time of day Boston resident students wake up to attend suburban schools, takes a deep look at METCO with two early participants as guides. Paula Bouknight and Elisabeth Bentley met in the 1970s in Miss Becker’s second grade class in Lincoln, MA. Their friendship has continued through the years as Paula became a journalist with over 30 years at the Boston Globe and Lizzy has become a filmmaker.