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Rachel’s Reads – August 2022

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” – Sydney J. Harris

As we enter the period where students and parents get ready to head back to school, I find myself thinking about education in general. Receiving an education can open minds to new perspectives, and knowledge obtained is (hopefully) gained forever. The impactful lessons we learn will stay with us for the rest of our lives. 

The education debate is one that has spanned decades, and our system seems to be in almost constant flux, especially with an increasingly digital world. Education is something that impacts everyone, and as we head into a new school year, here are a few books that will hopefully inspire your thoughts and reflection. 

Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer
This book gives a history of the modern traditional education system, how it works and how it doesn’t necessarily work for all kids. It includes information about alternatives to traditional education as well as information about learning disabilities and other challenges. It doesn’t push any agenda but attempts to provide us with better knowledge of the current system and how to help your child thrive. 

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy
Kate is obviously a teacher, and it is easy to see that she loves her job. This collection of essays is opinionated, insightful, and really opens a window into the life of a teacher. It inspires reflection about what it means to be a teacher, along with remembering our own meaningful moments in the classroom. 

A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind
Based on a series of articles which won Ron the Pulitzer Prize, this book contains the firsthand account of the struggles of a poor Black student who has tremendous potential. He navigates the schools of Washington D.C. and the travails of growing up while proving that it doesn’t matter where you come from but what you can achieve. 

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson has one of the most watched TED Talks that covers whether schools kill creativity. In this book, he looks at schools from many different angles. He speaks with educators and administrators, looks at standardized tests, stressed children, and schools in disrepair. He focuses on how existing school reform efforts don’t actually understand how children learn, and that we need to fully think about education before moving forward. 

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan
Written by the creator of the Khan Academy, in this book Salman discussed his vision for the future of education along with sharing his own story. He covers the history of the education system and ideas for potential change. Although his ideas may not resonate with everyone, they allow us to think and imagine what could be done differently. 

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
Peter is a developmental psychologist and this book is a precept of self-directed learning. He weaves together psychology, anthropology, and history to show why free play is the best and main avenue for children to learn self reliance and problem solving. 

Happy Reading!


Rachel became the publisher of The Independent in March of 2017 and then married her husband Jake in May. Their goldendoodle Einstein joined the family in 2019. Rachel is an avid reader and loves to share book recommendations. (Don’t miss her column, Rachel’s Reads in the Magazine!) She can always be found with a book nearby, especially while traveling (another of her favorite things).

Bailey Pianalto Photography