We're not built to be loaners.
Of course not. We're built to be borrowers.
And yes, that was the only part of your comment that deserves a response. Good day.
I don't know any of these kids myself - my kids are a couple of years beyond kindergarten now. But, as a first aid attendant (and teacher) at a different school, I can attest that I'm seeing more playground injuries now than 10 years ago. The equipment has never been safer, but perhaps that gives kids a false sense of security that it's okay to push kids or play-fight when you're 4 feet off the ground on some equipment or other.
When I mentioned this news story to a primary school principal I know, her immediate comment was that so many kids that age are showing up so sleep-deprived, they basically show all the symptoms of ADHD. I don't teach primary grades myself, but I've certainly seen this in some of my older students.
And, I'm guessing you were making a light-hearted "Canada" joke, but it should probably be pointed out that 5-year-old hockey camp doesn't generally include body contact. To my knowledge, that all starts somewhere around 12.
As it turns out, I'm ALSO a pedagogue (with a Masters degree and about 15 years of experience in the classroom to date). I happen to think you're wrong, on all counts. The school needed to act on not just pedagogical theory in this case, but also to demonstrate legal "due diligence" that they were dealing with a safety hazard for children that had already resulted in several injuries. I don't have personal knowledge of the students involved, so I certainly wouldn't want to call myself an authority on how this situation was handled (although that doesn't seem to stop others, who have even less knowledge of the situation than I do), but this situation seems to have been an ongoing one that presumably was not being "solved" by other measures that had already been taken. Also, I don't believe anyone (in the know) has been claiming that bullying is at play here - it seemed to me from reading the letter sent home to parents that it's basically normal "rough-housing" that is problematic because it's resulting in injuries (e.g. when it happens on playground equipment and results in falls), moreso than any sort of bullying.
Finally, "so-called teachers are obviously unprofessional and should be avoided", when you know as little about the situation directly as you do, seems to be a bit unprofessional from a self-proclaimed pedagogue such as yourself. These are all well-qualified teachers who in my experience in dealing with them in other situations (e.g. when my own kids were directly involved) have always conducted themselves with the utmost integrity, competence, and care for my children. So, frankly, I take your opinion of them for what it's worth. I'll let you run the math on that.
I've got a little bit of knowledge of this specific situation, as it turns out (my kids are at the school). The Slashdot summary, in typical style, is way out to lunch. The school has placed a temporary ban on play at recess or lunch that involves physical contact between kindergarten students. This is in response to a number of injuries that have happened with this particular class. Given that we're two full months into the school year, I think it's pretty safe to assume that the teachers have done the "Billy, please don't hit Bobby" routine, and there's a few kids for whom that's not working. At this point, given the way negligence and liability works in Canada, if the school was not to react in some way, my guess is that legal action from one of those lawsuit-happy parents we often read about could in fact be successful. So, they responded and said for the immediate future, there will be no touching on the playground, for the class that's having the problem.
As for "shocked parents", I'd say it would be more accurate to refer to "the shocked parent". This would be the one who went straight to CTV News without clarifying the situation with either the teacher or the principal. Most of the other parents that I've talked to are more than a bit disgusted by a) the decision to skip the usual channels and go straight to the news, b) the extremely slanted news coverage (which of course seems to have exactly the one interview with the one mom, since few of the other parents were willing to go on camera when it was obvious the angle the news was taking), and c) the gross overreaction by the news-story-commenting-public.
As it turns out, I actually know the administrators personally, as well as the kindergarten teachers. My kids go to this school, and have had this principal for several years. I have nothing but praise for this principal and the kindergarten teacher that my kids had. They're excellent, committed professionals.
Of course, that doesn't stop someone who's read the Slashdot 1-paragrapher of the original, grossly-slanted news story from launching an ad-hominem attack on people (s)he doesn't know. Way to jump to conclusions.
And, really - 5, Insightful?
Just finished teaching my pre-calculus class we've made kind of a week out of it a bunch of students were going away for Spring Break a little early, so we had several pies (coconut cream and strawberry rhubarb were among the standouts) on Tuesday then we went back to it today with a couple of apple pies for the few kids I've got left
Now if only there could be a mathematical constant called "poutine", I'd really be set.
I've got a Mac mini with CyberLynk / Macminivault. What they offer - a dedicated server (albeit, not the most powerful one imaginable, but dedicated nonetheless) with a significantly lower cost than other colocating companies. They even financed the server for me over several months (at 0% interest / fees, if I recall correctly their special at the time). Then, when I got sick of OS X Server (after about 12 minutes), I emailed them, and they went ahead and installed Debian on the Mac mini for me (in fact, I believe it was Jon Schwenn from the article who did it). There was some confusion about how to get it to reboot after power failure under linux, but a little careful googling fixed that. It's been running perfectly ever since.
Long and short of it? I've got a quad-core dedicated Debian server at less than 1/3 the price I used to rent a similar machine for from another company, and close to the price I was paying at the time for a VPN at Slicehost. The service from Jon and his co-workers has been outstanding, the data centre has been reliable (one brief hiccup due to a power issue in the last year and a half). And I'm with you on this point - not quite sure why anyone would really want to run OS X Server.
Well, your criteria is a lot stricter than mine... I just need my trip across the border to save me money after I factor in my time... So, when I can get down, pick up a mail-ordered bit of electronics (e.g. a camera for my daughter's birthday, about $40 less than available in Canada), a tank of gas (saving about $20), and some milk and cheese (saving another $20 or so), it becomes a worthwhile trip - I live very close, so the round trip is only about 45 minutes including border waits, most of the time. Add in the fact that I find the drive rather enjoyable, and I make the trip fairly often.
You are right - the border folks can be a tad unpredictable. But lately I've found them much more likely to let you through (assuming you are upfront about what you've got and are in possession of your receipts), even with largeish amounts (several $100s), than they are to ask you to go inside.
For my home machines, I use Time Machine (external hard drive, basically) for all the bulky stuff, and Dropbox for the really mission-critical stuff. My Dropbox syncs to several different machines that I use, including a remotely-located server, just for good measure.
For my main server (which hosts a bunch of web apps for clients, primarily), I use dual hard drives and a combination of tarsnap and plain-ol' S3 for external backup.
Of course, just as important as backing it up - verifying the backups occasionally. I had a recent laptop HD crash, followed by a Time Machine backup which looked initially like it was corrupted. There was a couple of hours of panic until I got it working again.