Deena Has Some Serious [Hate] Issues



GC School Board member Deena Hayes was in rare form this evening.

At least twice during this evening’s meeting, she brought up race, and once again, it had very little meaning on the discussion(s) at hand.

During a discussion of the Advanced Learner program this evening, Hayes said publicly that she will “reserve her vote” because she feels not enough students of color are nominated for the district’s AL program. Hayes cited an article to prove her point.

Okay, I “Google’d” her article, and here’s what I found: she quoted the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education’s Winter 2006 edition. The article is titled: A Descriptive Analysis of Referral Sources for Gifted Identification Screening by Race and Socioeconomic Status by Matthew T. McBee. Here’s the article in full text.

See this abstract of the article:

Despite vital role of the referral as the “gate-keeper process through which students become eligible for official evaluation for entry into gifted programs, it remains poorly understood. An examination of the gifted education literature reveals a paucity of research in this area. This is especially troubling and indeed surprising given the field’s well-documented struggle to identify and serve students from minority or low socioeconomic status (SES) families (e.g., Ford, 1998; Frasier, Garcia, & Passow, 1995). A relatively large amount of work has examined possible methods of fairly assessing students who are traditionally underrepresented in programs for the gifted, including assessment schemes based on dynamic assessment (Kirschenbaum, 2004), nonverbal ability tests (Naglieri & Ford, 2003), Gardner’s (1983) theory of multiple intelligences (Sarouphim, 1999), compensatory policies such as lowering IQ cutoff requirements for students from underrepresented groups (Hunsaker, 1994), and performance-based assessments (VanTassel-Baska, Johnson, & Avery, 2002). These procedures may hold great promise for identifying and serving students from these groups. However, most school districts require that a student be referred or nominated before being formally assessed for gifted program placement. Students that do not receive a referral will be unable to enter the program no matter which formal assessment procedure is used. The referral process is an obvious potential source of unfairness in the entrance process. It is essential that reliable information be made available so that current practices can be evaluated and perhaps modified.


Unfortunately, she was just getting started.

Next, during a discussion of the naming of the Reedy Fork area elementary school in honor of the late NASA Challenger astronaut Ronald McNair, she publicly said that she had a problem naming a school after persons who, she claims, were not going to be respected. She went all over the place, again, using the School Board as her personal agenda, from Northeast Guilford H.S. having some alleged entrenched racial issues to those living in ZIP Code 27406 versus 27410 to pointing out the conditions of several cities in which various Martin Luther King Drives cut through to allegedly shopping at local yard sales and buying “aunt jemima figurines” for her home simply where “they will be respected.”

The kicker was she quoted an article she claims “she carries around with her at all times” which discusses “if Emily and Greg are more likely to get a job than Lakisha and Jamal.”

I “Google’d” this article…here’s what I found: one site that contained a bunch of liberal hocus-pocus, mentioning Cynthia McKinney and OJ Simpson in the same breath. But I saw the footnote at the bottom of the site (scroll down to footnote “5”).

Another site came up with the same article (by a gentleman named Tim Wise), but minus the hocus-pocus liberal editorial comments.

I “google’d” the article title, and here’s what I got: it takes you to a pdf article of a 2004 study by a group of researchers from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in which they conducted a labor market study of discrimination in the workplace. By the way, this article is 42 pages long.

What is left to say about Deena Hayes? Seriously, how is a sane individual able to comment her on ongoing diatribes? She clearly doesn’t represent nor supports all children who attend Guilford County Schools. If she thinks there are serious, yet ongoing injustices to black children in GCS, what is she doing about it besides talking about it? Where are the examples? Show me the gifted black child who wasn’t promoted over the semi-gifted white child. And what is she doing to biracial children? Asian children? Latino children? Native-American children? I’m getting really sick and tired of this whole race discussion. Instead of helping to put out fires, she’s keeping them going and it is disgusting.

Your opinions, please.


UPDATE, 5/25/07, 7:52AM:

Link to News & Record Story here.

Link to FOX-8 story with video here.

Link to previous Deena Hayes coverage here and here and here.


UPDATE, 5/25/07, 9:35AM: Who is this Tim Wise, the author of one of the articles Hayes mentioned? Click here.

E.C. 🙂


21 Responses

  1. Thanks for the well-reasearched post — your hyperlinks to primary sources make your coverage of this pleasantly valuable and very informative.

    When I read the sources to which Haye’s was referring, they seem to indeed substantiate her reservations. Do you disagree?

  2. She is attempting to back up her warped sense of thinking, which is why I found the source documents.

    But the question again is why she harbors so much hate in a position where she is reponsible for taxpayer money and the lives of children? Her comments singlehandledly just killed any hope of having a school bond passed in November.

  3. Okay, but Eric, but when the documentation you cite supports Hayes’ opinions, it’s kind of hard to agree with you that her opinion is warped. In fact, it seems justified.

    Forget for a moment the motives you wish to ascribe to her, what about the facts of the matters?

  4. She cited the docs, I merely went online to see if what she was citing really existed (which they do) and provided the links. She discussed, I reported, I opined, you decide.
    I’ll meet you halfway, Roch. Let’s take for a moment the article she mentioned on AL Programs. It is simply one document. I would be interested in seeing what kind of statistics GCS has, along with other similar systems. Just by her having this document, does it make her an instant expert on AL programs? No. It’s just one source…probably out of many.
    On the naming of Reedy Fork, she cites the article on employment discrimination, which has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at all, and to me, it raises a lot of eyebrows. I know there is probably some employment discrimination out there. But something like that is for another forum at another time and place, not a school board meeting. And again, it is just one document out of many.
    In the same breath, I’ve met and know a lot of successful Jamal’s and Keisha’s out there. I taught a young man named Jamal last year–honor roll student.
    Deena was also making blanket statements last night, such as “how would we know if these students would learn who McNair is.” Students walk into T. Wingate Andrews H.S. everyday and Ben L. Smith H.S. everyday…do they know who Ben L. Smith and T. Wingate Andrews are? They should. It is part of their history if they are going to have school pride, something that sadly doesn’t exist that much anymore as it used to.
    Point blank, Deena regularly pulls out the race card and she loses credibility instantly when she does this. You know she has history. You know Deena has an agenda.
    Everything involves institutional racism when it comes to Deena. And again, she appears she is speaking on behalf of all blacks…she isn’t. Deena does not speak for me. I don’t need a spokesperson, I’m independent, I can think for myself and I vote my conscience. If she wants to speak out on behalf of someone, I wish she would advocate more for Smith and Jackson Middle, both of which are high-impact schools, last time I checked. Rarely do I hear her mention anything about Smith and Jackson.

  5. […] the Bigot May 25th, 2007 — The CA E.C. Huey analyzes some of the bigotry that spews on a constant basis from School Board member Deena Hayes. Meanwhile, […]

  6. The CA makes a good point over on his website, click his name above. No one else is discussing this issue today, the day after the comments were made…no one. Again, the question has to be asked…where’s the outrage? Or is it just me?….I stand corrected, other than Ed Cone and Brad & Britt, who mentioned it on their morning show today, no one at the N&R is blogging about it, no one in our local political circles is blogging about it…

  7. There may indeed be another side to the story, all I’m saying is that I think the higher road — the one most needed– is to tackle issues on their facts. If a school board member makes an assertion, based on some type of documented source, the more helpful rebuttal would be one that analyzes her logic and evaluates the available information (as you eventually did to some degree) rather than turning the discussion to personal comments about the school board member.

  8. I agree, I understand that. And to evaluate the documents first and make an attempt to analyze them first would probably have been warranted.

    But again, she has a history and we know what to expect everytime she opens her mouth. And each she opens her mouth, I say “oh God, here we go again.”

    Yes, I know I’ll have to work with her should my Board campaign be successful, and I will find a way to do just that. But keep in mind that I will call her on any odd remarks she makes, they will not go unnoticed as many of them unfortunately do now.

  9. “No one else is discussing this issue today, the day after the comments were made…no one.”

    I guess that makes me no one, since I discussed it this morning.

    It was on TV last night, and in the paper this morning.

    Brad and Britt spent a lot of time on it on WZTK this morning too.

    So…not sure what you mean by no one discussing it.

  10. Besides you, Ed, and Brad & Britt.

    No one at the N&R is blogging about it, no one in our local political circle is blogging about it.

  11. We are on it.

    That increases the odds that they will be.

    And if they don’t, their coverage will suffer by comparison.

    That’s the beauty of this new media stuff.

  12. To support a claim of discrimination, the question was asked: Who would you hire?–Emily and Greg or Lakisha and Jamal? The whole point of the question was to show that whites are naturally prejudiced against blacks and without even knowing the color of ones skin, makes a judgement about that person based on their names only.

    The whole point of this exercise by the school board member illustrates beautifully a point I’ve been trying to make and that is she assumed that the person doing the hiring was white. That, in and of itself, is a prejudicail judgement and may or may not be true but she assumed it to be. If she were to think about it awhile, maybe she would realize that if the person doing the hiring were black, maybe it would be Emily and Greg that were discriminated against. Or maybe, neither couple would be prejudged by their names.

  13. Mr. Huey:

    I think it would be far a greater benefit to you and for your campaign if you were to address ways that YOU can enhance the Guilford County School Board. Spend less time focusing on Deena Hayes. Deena’s voice, though at times a bit harsh, is needed. If Deena was not speaking…for the black students of Guilford County…my question is..who would? Do you spend as much time researching the other Board Members. It would make much more sense to me to focus on your campaign and not Ms. Hayes. It makes you look bad. And as a black man, it makes you look pathetic.

  14. Mr. Alston,

    While it is very important to have people “Speaking for the black students”, one would hope that such needed voices rise in more honest ways that make sense in light of the seriousness of the issue.

    While Deena is right to point fingers when she detects institutional racism crouching behind every bush, it would be refreshingly honest of her to – every now and again – point that accusatory finger to other causes of the problem that just may reside somewhere other than the white race.

    But should she ever do so, she would likely get similarly slapped down like you did with Mr. Huey with your “pathetic” label.

  15. Thank you, Mr. Alston, for your open and sincere comments. You make some good points.

    Up until this moment, I have allowed myself to entertain (and almost focus) on Ms. Hayes’ ideology when they come up during Board meetings. But please believe me that if she spoke the same way regarding people of other races and cultures, I would still continue to speak out publicly. I feel her job as a sitting school board member is to represent children of ALL races, creeds and colors, just as I will do if elected next year. This is my only issue with Ms. Hayes.

    I said before, I’m sure she’s probably a very nice lady and I would look forward to not only meeting her one day but I would actually look forward to sitting down and having a real good dialogue on the issues some day. That goes for all of the Board members. It is an open invitation and I’ll buy them a cup of coffee at the nearest Starbucks.

    Because I’m still a citizen of this county and all of the board members are accountable to its electorate.

    To address your closing comment about being pathetic, please understand that as a young black man growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1970s, my parents taught me not to play the victim. I still hold true to that value as a black man in modern day Guilford County, NC 2007. And as a father of one, I will teach my daughter be proud and to hold true of that same value.

  16. Mr. Huey did not provide an abstract of the article “A Descriptive Analysis of Referral Sources for Gifted Identification Screening” by Race and Socioeconomic Status by Matthew T. McBee. Instead he posted the first paragraph of the literature review. The following is the actual abstract. I think it will provide you with a better understanding of the content of the article.

    A dataset containing demographic information, gifted nomination status, and gifted identification status for all elementary school students in the state of Georgia (N = 705,074) was examined. The results indicated that automatic and teacher referrals were much more valuable than other referral sources. Asian and White students were much more likely to be nominated than Black or Hispanic students. Students receiving free or reduced-price lunches were much less likely to be nominated than students paying for their own lunches. The results suggest that inequalities in nomination, rather than assessment, may be the primary source of the underrepresentation of minority and low-SES students in gifted programs.

    The article supports Deena’s argument.

  17. Roch,

    I took a look at the article referenced by Ms. Hayes. It seems that in Georgia, in order to receive AL services, a student must be referred then screened. If the child passes the screening process, then AL services are provided.

    The study looked at the referral process (automatic – based on academic performance, teacher, parent, peer, self, and other) to identify biases in that process. The study concluded that “The results indicated that automatic and teacher referrals were much more valuable than other referral sources.” in determining the need for AL services.

    I believe that GCS currently primarily uses automatic referrals (see for the process) and that every child is in fact tested (prior to 2005, every second grader was tested. Now testing occurs in the third grade). Each school also has a Team for Advanced Learners to help identify potential AL candidates annually. Multiple criteria are used to determine the AL level of service. In addition, GCS uses several ‘nurturing’ programs to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented groups.

    Ms. Hayes, I believe, offered to provide a list of resources who would be available to help the GCS staff approach the selection process in a multicultural framework.

    When looking at the underrepresentation of certain groups in AL services, the study never reached a conclusion on academic ability: “the correct interpretation of these results is currently unknowable.”

    But it did conclude that “… It is unclear how Georgia’s already flexible nomination policies could be improved without massively increasing costs.”

    GCS may well be in the same boat as Georgia.


    Excerpts from the reference:

    “If one adopts the position that ability is evenly distributed across these lines, then these results can only indicate severe bias in the nomination and testing procedure. Many readers will undoubtedly adopt this explanation for the results presented in this paper. The low rate of automatic referrals could indicate bias in standardized tests; the low rate of teacher nominations could indicate racism, classism, or cultural ignorance on the part of teachers; and the low rate of parent nominations could indicate that these students’ parents are alienated from and distrustful of school culture.”

    “Interpreting these results in this light would lead to the conclusion that the nomination process, rather than the screening process, is the primary cause of differential representation in gifted programs.”

    “Although it is certainly true that nominated students from “advantaged” groups have a higher probability of successfully passing the screening process than “disadvantaged” students, the effect of these differing pass rates is far smaller than the effect of the differing nomination rates on the resulting gifted program enrollment.”

    “The pass rate for Black students is 82% that of the pass rate for White students…”

    “…if one believes that ability is not evenly distributed, then one can interpret these results in a different light. The low rate of automatic referrals for certain groups reflects lesser ability. When students from these groups are nominated, they are able to pass through the screening less frequently. Teachers nominate fewer students from these groups because there are simply fewer students from these groups that evidence advanced potential. Furthermore, the low accuracy of teacher nomination for these students could reflect effort on the part of teachers to address the long-standing inequality of gifted program enrollments by nominating students that show even questionable potential to pass the screening process.”

    “The true nature of ability distribution is currently unknown and is, perhaps, unknowable…Therefore, the correct interpretation of these results is currently unknowable. Though the previous discussion presented two possibilities to explain the observed results, it is also quite possible that both are true. Ability may not be precisely evenly distributed across backgrounds, but our currently methods for identifying gifted students may also be overlooking students hailing from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. “

    “Georgia’s multiple criteria assessment procedure was designed in part to help address the underrepresentation problem. The multitude of considered referral sources speak to the state’s commitment to casting a wide net in search of talented students. In spite of this commitment, Georgia continues to struggle with the underrepresentation of minority and low-SES students in its gifted programs. It is unclear how Georgia’s already flexible nomination policies could be improved without massively increasing costs.”

  18. Mr. Aronson,

    That is a huge assumption you make – that black students were less likely to be nominated because they are black. Maybe performance has something to do with it?

    If black students aren’t performing as well over all, is “I didn’t pass the test because white people hate me” really the best explanation? The last time I checked the laws of mathematics were colorblind. This is an excuse. Perhaps Hayes would better spend her time dealing with more concrete explanations for the gap than unprovable racist garbage.

    If the real reason is economics, then perhaps that should be dealt with. But therein lies the problem- economics doesn’t only effect blacks. There are a large number of economically disadvantaged white students as well and I suspect they are nominated less frequently as well. Why? Better start off in the home. A dysfunctional home will effect any student regardless of race or income. We know from statistics that single parent homes are far more likely to be economically disadvantaged. Black students come from single parent homes in far greater numbers than any other race. Is that because of racism? I don’t think so. It’s because of something, and our time would be better spent trying to solve that problem then trying to simplify a complex issue by blaming it on racism.

    Post hoc ergo proctor hoc reasoning is noted for it’s many flaws. Only fools and the ignorant buy into such theories. Yet, the conclusion you reach from this study is exactly that. Think about it. Does it really prove what you and Ms. Hayes claim it does?

  19. Thanks for the insight, jwg.

  20. Roch,

    You’re welcome.

    And Allen Johnson (N&R) has some additional insights into why there may not be as many black kids in the AL programs:

    Deena Hayes: Right question, wrong words
    Sunday, January 14, 2007

    “Also, why aren’t more black kids in such programs? Either you accept that they aren’t as smart (which I categorically dismiss), or something else is happening.

    I submit that “something else” probably is a lot of things:

    1. A lack in some cases of parental awareness and encouragement.
    2. A fear of being separated from friends.
    3. Peer pressure not to “act white” in some cases.
    4. A lack of access to the kinds of home-basedf enrichment activities (travel, tutors, etc.) that affluence brings.
    5. The distractions and disadvantages of poverty.”

  21. Hello

    Very interesting information! Thanks!


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