To borrow from comedian Brian Regan: "'I' before 'E' except after 'C' and when sounding like 'A' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh' and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May and you'll always be wrong no matter what you say."
"That's a hard rule," Regan told the audience at the Toyota Center in Kennewick back in January.
And lots of other rules for reading and writing English are equally hard. It seems like every rule has an exception.
So we applaud Columbia School District Superintendent Lou Gates for changing some of those rules -- especially for getting rid of the exceptions.
Apparently he has developed a system that makes reading a whole lot easier for beginners and those who struggle. And now he has peer review to support his method.
This month's issue of the scientific journal, The Reading Teacher, features an article by Gates and Ian Yale, the principal of Columbia Elementary School.
Teachers, principals and school superintendents have opportunities to try new methods on students. If they see success in the classroom -- great. But how do they make that information widely available?
Now that Gates and Yale are published, more avenues will open to them. Maybe they'll produce a textbook or other curricula.
We see good ideas coming out of Burbank, like getting rid of the midday kindergarten bus run and replacing it with four full days instead of five half days. It saves the district money and gives kids more time in the classroom.
They have also outsourced their meal service. It saves the district money, and teenage boys seem to inhale the new lunches just as readily.
Our friends at the western edge of Walla Walla County are making changes that makes sense for them.
The reading results from the Burbank school have been promising. We hope to see such improvements duplicated in readers across the state and country -- no exceptions.