In September 1964 Operation Exodus was created and began to bus children from Roxbury to Peter Faneuil School in Beacon Hill. Operation Exodus was a completely community-led program that self-funded the busing of students from Roxbury to schools around Boston that had open seats. Under Boston’s Open Enrollment Policy, which had been used by white families to remove their children from predominantly black schools, a child could transfer anywhere in the Boston Public Schools system where there was room. By September 1965, under Ellen Jackson and Elizabeth Johnson, Operation Exodus bused over 400 children to available seats outside Roxbury. Operation Exodus expanded to offer a tutorial program, cultural enrichment programs, psychological testing services, and a vocational education project. Operation Exodus peaked at serving 976 students, but it ended in 1969 due to lack of funds. Over the next three years and half years, the program sought restitution from BPS for its self-funded services through courts, but to little avail.
However, by 1969 Operation Exodus services were not as necessary, because by then it had spurred officials in communities around Boston—usually wealthier and with statistically better schools—to begin opening their schools to children from the Roxbury community. Plans for such a program had been in the works since 1964 when the Brookline Civil Rights Committee asked the Brookline School Committee to accept Boston black children. By May 1965, Ed Logue from the BRA proposed a busing program that involved certain communities. By December 1965 a bill was filed and then signed in August 1966 that enabled children to attend schools in cities and towns other than that in which they resided. Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) began busing students in the 1966 school year, funded through Title III federal, state, and private funding, specifically from the Carnegie Corporation. Initially METCO included the towns of Brookline, Lexington, Newton, and Wellesley, and soon after, Braintree, Arlington, Lincoln, and Concord joined.neu_rx913s93z
Letter from a group in Wellsley opposed to METCO’s presence.