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So many outrages, so little column space

You’ve got to be kidding!

Do you really mean to tell me the Henderson arena proposal – suggested by a developer behind at least two other arena proposals in Las Vegas, neither one of which came to fruition – may not happen?

Are you saying Christopher Milam, who recently lost an appeal in a case in which he allegedly lied to fellow investors about the source of his stake in a development deal, hasn’t been fully honest with the city of Henderson?

Just so I understand – you’re saying that project that would have been partially financed with a $650 million loan from a Chinese company at 20 percent interest due in 3½ years is not now economically viable?

And to further clarify, you’re saying that marketing materials uncovered by the city of Henderson in which Milam allegedly markets the land for residential development in addition to an arena project suggests that perhaps the entire arena thing was a sham? That the city of Henderson’s cooperation in helping Milam obtain land from the Bureau of Land Management was somehow conditioned on the false promise of an arena, when the real plan may have been to build homes?

You’re saying the dream of a privately financed arena in Las Vegas – which dates at least to the mid-1990s when Texas businessman Paul Tanner said he would build a domed stadium in what’s now Symphony Park – is nothing but a cruel hoax?

Well, color me disillusioned. I mean, who could have seen this coming?

– – –

Does anybody else worry that, had the two teachers accused of having allegedly consensual sex with a 16-year-old girl (who was not their student) not resigned from their jobs with the Clark County School District, they’d have ended up back in the classroom?

John Stalmach and Bambi Dewey quit amid the school district’s investigation of their involvement with the 16-year-old, although prosecutors had passed on filing charges. They said the girl initiated the sexual encounter and neither teacher worked at the school she attended.

Isn’t it long past time Nevada passed a simple law: No person employed as a teacher may have sex with any student, regardless of the age of consent and regardless of whether it’s a consensual act?

The defense bar will surely ask if we’re not thereby creating a unique class of people (teachers) who do not have the same rights as the rest of the population. To which I’d reply: Yes, absolutely. Adults in position of trust and responsibility to educate our youth ought not to abuse that relationship, and no one who does should ever be allowed in a classroom again.

We lucked out this time, because the alleged perpetrators quit. What about next time?

– – –

Speaking of kids and schools, the Clark County School District’s new rating system sure had a good year. Schools that made progress were rewarded, while those that didn’t were not punished. It was a "hold harmless" year, district officials said, while officials transitioned from the "adequate yearly progress" model of No Child Left Behind to a new rating system, grading schools with one to five stars.

Sadly, the kids who attend underperforming schools were not held harmless. They had to endure another year of demonstrably subpar education.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Nevada has a high school dropout rate of 62 percent. Put another way, 38 percent – nearly four in every 10 students – won’t graduate. Their futures, whether measured in stars, letter grades or adequate yearly progress charts, are severely limited as a result.

The reasons are myriad, the solutions are complex and sometimes controversial, but it’s undeniable that we must do better. However you measure it, we’re failing far too many kids.

Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at (702) 387-5276 or ssebelius@reviewjournal.com.

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