Massachusetts public schools are widely known to be the best in the country. This doesn’t mean that school is good. It means that Massachusetts keeps trying new things. But also it means that Massachusetts starts with the state with the highest percentage of people with advanced degrees. And the highest number of universities per capita, feeding bright-eyed, bushy-tailed undergrads into the system.
But regardless, I always keep an eye on what Massachusetts is doing. So this post about METCO caught my eye. It’s a program that ships poor, non-white kids to the rich, white, suburban schools of Boston. This program is so popular that there are 10,000 kids on the waiting list.
Here’s why I think it’s so popular: because the government takes care of the kids from 6am to 8pm. Someone feeds the kids meals, someone makes the kids do their homework, and someone supervises a wide range of after-school activities.
This confirms my hunch that there are a lot of parents who would rather have the government raise their kids because they are stretched way too thin themselves. Actually, the same is true of rich parents — there are a lot of them who want to have someone else raise their kids, but they use nannies and boarding school instead.
I don’t have a huge problem with these tactics. I wouldn’t do them, but whatever. Most people wouldn’t make my choices, either. What I do have a problem with is parents who give their kids to the government and then refuse to admit it’s because they need a break.
This is in contrast to most parents who pretend they are doing everything for their kids, when they are actually spending all their family resources to live in an expensive place so they can say they have to work to pay for the school district it affords them. In reality that’s really the parents justifying sacrificing the kids’ needs for their own.
What I like about METCO is that a parent is admitting they can’t accommodate the needs of their kid, and they are asking for government help. I like METCO because it’s flat-out daycare. And as daycare goes, METCO is unbelievably successful.
It works because it’s real about what its doing. Families are always balancing the needs of many individuals. And the less we have to lie to ourselves the more we can accomplish.