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Most of the school goes along, and the teachers get very upset.A school meeting is called to address the issue, and Stephen and Nora both address the teachers and parents and apologize for causing so much trouble.Nora tells her parents that she does not wish to go into the advanced classes; she likes being â€›normal.’ She sees Stephen and goes over to him and thanks him for still being her friend and treating her like a normal person even though he now knows she is a genius.
Nora is anxious about her plan; she has worked hard to not be noticed, and she worries that the poor grades will excite her parents and bring her unwanted attention.
She remembers when she started kindergarten and thought she could get away without participating by hiding under her desk and pretending to be a cat instead of a girl.
She noticed that one kid, Stephen, worked exceptionally hard at everything and never complained, and she became his best friend because she liked that so much.
In fourth grade, the students must begin taking a standardized test called Connecticut Mastery Testing.
Nora researches the tests in order to get a perfectly average score, but Stephen tries very hard and gets low scores, which depresses him.
This led to Stephen experiencing stress and anxiety all the time.
Nora's managed to make it to the fifth grade without anyone figuring out that she's not just an ordinary kid, and she wants to keep it that way. It’s like I’ve been doing experiments for years so I can figure out what makes me me—the facts of me. I can remember the smell of the soft, blue cloth my mom tucked under my chin to catch the drips when I drank baby formula from a bottle.
But then Nora gets fed up with the importance everyone attaches to test scores and grades, and she purposely brings home a terrible report card just to prove a point. Another fact: Sometimes no doesn’t mean no forever. Here’s one fact I’ve discovered: I have the opposite of amnesia. I can remember each red polka dot on the hat of the stuffed clown puppet I slept with in my crib—twelve dots. Then my mind went racing through its filing system, and I remembered every detail of the day when I first started to see I was different. She was six years older, so it was like we lived on different planets. All Ann has ever wanted is for everybody to beg her to be the queen of the universe.
Nora then explains her reasoning: The focus on grades makes the kids who find school easy feel superior, and behave poorly, while the kids who have to work harder feel stupid, which is not fair.
Nora finds some support among the teachers, who have their own misgivings about the focus on grades.