From the American Scene: My Life As A “Jewish Child Genius”
MY PARENTS moved around a great deal during my childhood. Every place we lived, my brother and I were sent to Sunday school. If the Baptist church happened to be nearer our home than the Methodist church, we were Baptists. If the Episcopalians maintained a church school nearer yet, we were Episcopalians. Our parents were more interested in maintaining, through us, the family’s standing as churchgoers in the community than in the religious instruction we might or might not be receiving. I had, therefore, a most eclectic view of religion in general and no personal opinions or preferences whatever.
A few months after we moved to Baltimore, Maryland, I was transferred out of the regular seventh-grade class in the public school and placed in a group which quickly became known to the rest of the school as the “genius class.” We were all children who had broken the thermometer on the Stanford-Binet I.Q. test. Progressive theories in education had permeated the public school system just enough to make school authorities think of the “over-bright child” as a Problem. Our genius class was an attempt to deal with the problem by segregating us from the rest of the school community and giving a special course of instruction, known as an Enrichment Program, designed to cope with our supposedly gigantic mentalities. As it happened, of the forty children assigned to the class on the basis of their I.Q.’s, I was the only Gentile; everyone else was Jewish.
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