On The Line Documentary
METCO stands for the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity. Founded in 1966 in Boston, Massachusetts, the program is the longest continuously running voluntary school desegregation program in the country and a national model for the few other voluntary desegregation busing programs currently in existence
LEV Films is proud to produce and direct this project dedicated to the upcoming 50th Anniversary of METCO. The production and exhibition of the film is intended to inspire further dialogue and continuous action, while educating diverse communities and future participants of the METCO program. Every child’s experience is unique. yet like their peers, they’ll find commonality in their journey.
Using photo-montage recreations, interviews, original field footage and recordings, the documentary film production, On The Line, Where Sacrifice Begins examines the METCO integration experience through the lens of native Boston minority students who attended public school in the affluent suburb of Lexington, MA, along with counter-responses from suburban students and faculty directly impacted by the program. – Capturing viewpoints of historians, founders, polarizing activists, teachers, parents and champions of the movement. A collective group boldly committed to a cause greater than themselves.
The film examines the historical context of the METCO program from it’s origin to current state. 50 years in the making, the longest continuously running voluntary school desegregation program in the country. How did the program impact the lives of its graduates? OTL will vividly recap the experiences of past and current participants, while assessing the benefits and hardships of crossing racial and class lines on their way to school. Closely examining the historical and social conditions that helped shape the lives of a select group of METCO & Suburban participants when the bus ride ended.
The civil rights movement is often taught as a Southern phenomenon. Yet, the struggle for racial justice occurred all over the country, especially in Northern cities. This documentary reflects back on the civil rights movement in the North: the conflict over how to resolve racial segregation in Boston’s public schools in the 1960s and 1970s. the context and decisions that resulted in court-ordered busing, rather than on the violence and tension that followed busing. Investigating the years prior to court-ordered busing helps us better understand current debates about segregation in public schools. Nearly 50 years later, the same conditions that led to racially imbalanced schools in the 1960s and 1970s, namely residential segregation, exist in most American cities and suburbs. Furthermore, many of the strategies suggested by educators, parents, and activists in the 1960s are being proposed today. The participants in this documentary reflect on their early educational journey by sharing firsthand opinions about their individual and collective experiences. As the United States becomes an increasingly racially diverse nation, it is particularly relevant for students to think about how people from different backgrounds build relationships based on mutual respect and shared understandings, and the role of schools in this endeavor.
In our increasingly multiracial, multiethnic and metalinguistic nation, it is more crucial than ever that we continue to develop and promote working models of educational institutions that approximate the larger society students will someday join. . . . More than ever, social science research offers powerful evidence of the strong benefits of diversity for students, communities, and a democratic society. Similarly, research has also long demonstrated the detrimental effects of segregation and its ever-present attendant, concentrated poverty, in our public schools on educational opportunity, race relations, and the psychological development of young people.