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Marlboro cigarettes

MARLBORO -- In an attempt to measure Marlboro Elementary School's quality without federally mandated exams, surveys will be sent out to graduates from the past eight years.
A draft of the survey has been written by Marlboro Elementary alumnus Ariel Poster, who is a sophomore at Barnard College in New York City, a women's college affiliated with Columbia University. She was hired by the Marlboro Elementary School Action Plan Committee to evaluate the school's ability to educate.
  "The School Board does not believe that proposed federally mandated testing is an accurate or useful form of evaluation," Poster wrote.
The effort comes two months after the Marlboro School Board announced they would say no to federally mandated standardized tests unless they are educationally beneficial.
  "I think that'll gather us some very good information," school board member Andy Reischman said at Tuesday's meeting.
  The draft featured eight questions, but is expected to be expanded, said Marlboro Elementary Principal Francie Marbury. The draft only asked positive questions, and negative ones are expected to be added.
  It started off in a flattering fashion, reading, "Congratulations, you are an incredible person! You had the unique opportunity to spend a huge portion of your childhood learning and growing at Marlboro Elementary School and the Marlboro community is extremely proud of your accomplishments."
  Before anything is sent out, the school needs to come up with a list of alumni. The school currently has about 77 students. The tricky part will be finding all the graduates, said board member Lauren Poster, Ariel's mother. The survey will go to high school students and graduates old enough to be in college.
  In May, the school board announced that the school would no longer administer any tests which the principal finds void of educational value, participate in Adequate Yearly Progress as determined by the act, or forward any information to the Windham Central Supervisory Union that can be connected to a specific student's name.
  The agreement was signed by all three board members, who will also support staff and administration threatened by legal action. The school will not be in jeopardy until they refuse to hand out tests. The state will be forced to act if the school refuses to administer state-mandated standardized tests.
  President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in early January 2002. Educators and politicians have criticized the law, saying they agree with the concept of equal education for everyone, but dislike the procedures.
  Schools that continue to descend in test scores and don't replace teachers deemed unqualified risk losing Title I funding. The federal government pays Title I funds to aid school that meet established poverty guidelines for their students.
  Marlboro Elementary does not have enough students below the poverty threshold, and therefore; the school does not receive the funding. The draft said that the surveys are due back at the end of the month, but it was unclear Tuesday whether that date would be pushed.
  A CD-ROM will accompany the survey, with the top 10 reasons the graduates should fill them out.
Poster, the survey's writer, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
  Vermont Education Commissioner Richard Cate was scheduled to meet with school officials Tuesday evening to discuss the school's decision, but had to reschedule.