Education for students (such as the physically or mentally disabled) with special needs. An early proponent of education for the blind was Valentin Haüy, who opened a school in Paris in 1784; his efforts were followed by those of Louis Braille. Attempts to educate deaf children predate Haüy, but not until Friedrich Moritz Hill (1805–74) developed an oral method of instruction did teaching to the deaf become established. The development of standardized sign languages further advanced instruction of the deaf. Scientific attempts to educate mentally retarded children began with the efforts of Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard (1775–1838) to train a feral child known as the Wild Boy of Aveyron; Itard's work influenced such later theorists as Édouard Séguin (1812–80) and Maria Montessori. Children with motor disabilities, once considered subjects for special education, are usually integrated into the standard classroom, often by means of wheelchairs and modified desks. Children with learning disabilities and speech problems usually require specialized techniques, often on an individual basis. For children with behavioral and emotional disorders, special therapeutic and clinical services may be provided.
Learn more about special education with a free trial on Britannica.com.
any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favour. All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their cause. It could be a policy that exclusively benefits group members or one segment of society (e.g., government subsidies for farmers) or a policy that advances a broader public purpose (e.g., improving air quality). Interest groups are a natural outgrowth of the communities of interests that exist in all societies, from the narrowest groups such as the Japan Eraser Manufacturers Association to broader groups such as the AFL-CIO to very broad organizations such as the military in authoritarian countries. Interest groups exist at all levels of government—national, state, provincial, and local—and increasingly they have occupied an important role in international affairs.
Learn more about interest group with a free trial on Britannica.com.
The belief that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing. Biblical creationists believe that the story told in Genesis of God's six-day creation of the universe and all living things is literally correct. Scientific creationists believe that a creator made all that exists, though they may not hold that the Genesis story is a literal history of that creation. Creationism became the object of renewed interest among conservative religious groups following the wide dissemination of the theory of biological evolution, first systematically propounded by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species (1859). In the early 20th century some U.S. states banned the teaching of evolution, leading to the Scopes Trial. In the late 20th century many creationists advocated a view known as intelligent design, which was essentially a scientifically modern version of the argument from design for the existence of God as set forth in the late 18th century by the Anglican clergyman William Paley.
Learn more about creationism with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Special-purpose districts provide specialized services only to those persons who live within them. Special districts possess fiscal and administrative autonomy. They often are empowered to tax residents of the district, usually by a property tax but sometimes an excise or sales tax, for the services that they provide. They often cross the lines of towns, villages, and hamlets but less frequently cross city or county lines. Increasingly, however, regional special districts are being created that may serve a large portion of a state or portions of more than one state.
Districts are created by legislative action, court action, or public referendum and are governed by a board of directors, commissioners, supervisors, or the like. The board serves as a district board of directors and may be appointed by public officials, appointed by private entities, popularly elected, or elected by benefited citizens (typically property owners). Sometimes, one or more public officials will serve ex officio on the board. Also, the board of a private entity may serve as the board of a special district (however, such a board could not be given the power to set a tax). The board serves primarily as a legislative board and appoints a chief executive for day to day operations and decision making and policy implementation. Most districts have employees, but some districts exist solely to raise funds by issuing bonds and/or by providing tax increment financing.
Districts typically have some corporate powers. They must be able to set their own budget without line item modification by another government. The authorizing legislation may give them the power to tax, issue bonds, or set fees; and/or the authorizing legislation may establish revenues via taxes or fees on behalf of the district; and/or the authorizing legislation may require contributions by participating local governments.
Special districts are sometimes created to provide fire protection, sewer service, transit service or to manage water resources, among many other possible functions. In many states in the USA, school districts operate the public schools (as opposed to dependent school systems, which are dependent on the state or a local government for administrative and/or fiscal direction). All special-purpose districts are founded by some level of government in accordance with state law and exist in all states.
Special session beckons, but ...: If it occurs, agenda will go far beyond bridge replacement. Here's how it would work:.
Aug 20, 2007; Byline: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Aug. 20--In the immediate aftermath of the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse, it seemed clear:...