Shortage of teachers hits New York hard

Shortage of teachershits New York hard
NEW YORK -- The nation's much-publicized teacher shortage is being felt keenly in New York, where a record 8,000 new teachers are needed by September.
School officials are recruiting teachers from Italy, Spain, Barbados, Jamaica and Austria and have authorized a $6 million ad campaign to lure teachers to the classroom.
The gap reflects a national trend, but will be especially hard to fill because of its magnitude. The shortage -- which amounts to one in every 10 teaching slots -- is the largest in city history, school officials say.
"When you talk about 8,000 teachers, that is the equivalent of one of the 10 largest school districts in the nation," said Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers in Washington. "You're talking about the equivalent of trying to replace Miami."
With more than 1 million pupils and 80,000 teachers, New York's public school system is twice as big as the nation's second-largest, the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Oceanographers findunderwater 'Lost City'
NEW YORK -- A spectacular undersea system of hot springs and towering spires nicknamed "Lost City" is a unique breeding ground for microbes that may yield clues to the formation of life on Earth, researchers reported.
Oceanographers stumbled upon the formation on ancient Earth crust deep in the mid-Atlantic in December. Some of the white mineral spires were measured at up to 180 feet -- the tallest ever found.
Such formations -- called hydrothermal fields -- rise over eons. They are the result of accumulated minerals dissolved in hot water bubbling up through fissures known as thermal vents.
But subsequent study of "Lost City" -- and the venting system that produced it -- showed several unique attributes, researchers reported in today's issue of the journal Nature.
For one, the massive spires appear to have been created not by undersea volcanoes -- which are known to produce such formations on a smaller scale -- but by heat-generating chemical interactions between ocean rocks and sea water, said Jeff Karson, a Duke University geologist who was part of the research team.
That may mean hydrothermal venting occurs in a much greater portion of the world's oceans than previously thought.
527 hospitals citedfor patient dumping
WASHINGTON -- More than 500 hospitals were cited for illegally sending patients with emergency conditions to other hospitals in the late 1990s, according to a report from a public interest group.
The practice, called patient dumping, is a way for hospital emergency rooms to get rid of poor patients who have no health insurance.
Most of the 527 hospitals named in the research project conducted by Public Citizen were cited for breaking a law that guarantees patients the right to be treated at the nearest available hospital.
They were fined by the Health Care Financing Administration between 1997 and 1999, according to the report, which was released today.
"It's distressing that this law has been in place for 15 years, and hospitals are still flaunting it," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. "The government needs to do more to force hospitals to comply. People shouldn't be denied desperately needed emergency medical care when they go to a hospital. Failing to impose fines on most hospitals violating the law amounts to an invitation to dump sick patients."
New Army brigades
WASHINGTON -- Home bases for the Army's newest special combat brigades are planned partly to put them in quicker reach of the Pacific.
Current brigades in Hawaii, Alaska, Fort Polk, La. and the Army National Guard in Pennsylvania will be transformed into so-called Interim Brigade Combat Teams, according to Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
One such brigade was set up a year ago in Washington state to test the concept, part of the Pentagon's post-Cold War strategy of making the service nimble enough to ship thousands of troops anywhere in the world in a matter of days.
The new locations were being announced today by Army Secretary Thomas E. White and Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki.
Pennsylvania's brigade will be made up of three battalions of the 56th Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division of the Army National Guard. There are 20 companies from throughout the state that are part of the brigade.

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