Milton Cofield, according to his bio on the New York State Education Department website, is an accomplished man. Vice Chancellor Cofield, as he is commonly referred to in the educational realm, has an extensive background in academic affairs, including serving his now second five-year term as a Regent for the Seventh Judicial District of NYS, which encompasses Monroe County.
A Rochester area resident for over 30 years, Cofield is currently the Executive Director for Undergraduate Business Administration in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. It’s his responsibilities in Pittsburgh that may generously explain his absence at a forum that was to be conducted at the School Without Walls in downtown Rochester last evening. Cofield had apparently confirmed his expected appearance at the event, in which he was to be the featured speaker, last week. Yet there was no call from him, his office or his home, alerting the roughly 50 community members who showed up to listen to and participate in the forum that he would be unable to attend. Attempts to reach him at his home in Penfield were unsuccessful, with calls going to his voice mailbox.
Something Was Amiss
I hope for Cofield’s sake that there was not an unforeseen, even tragic, circumstance that prevented him from making good on his commitment. However, I am of the belief that Cofield essentially blew off the proceedings, estimating in his mind that his reputation would incur little if any damage from not showing up. Like I said, there were about 50 people there, which is by no means a staggering amount of bodies. Not that Cofield knew the precise number of persons that were going to be there. I am fairly certain he assumed that the individuals there would be eager to ask questions that would particularly address the overwhelmingly ‘positive’ vote by the Board of Regents – Cofield included – to tie upwards of 40 percent of NYS teachers’ overall evaluation, hence pay, to standardized test results.
Being Taken For Granted
To paraphrase a request made by one of the attendees, Ricardo Adams of the Community Education Task Force, what all those present at SWW wanted was to at least be given an excuse for why Cofield decided to forego his anticipated presence. Maybe if he knew for certain that 500 people would be gathered there, with a bevy of television and print media representatives on site, would he have graced everyone with his company. By his (in)actions, Cofield has taken this particular community, including the two School of the Arts students who were there to voice their opinions on standardized testing, for granted. What does that say about those who supposedly represent the general public’s interests? I’m afraid to say it speaks volumes, and not in a good way.
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