By Steve Sadin
Since taking office in January, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) has visited six schools in the 10th Congressional District and met with students in other places including his offices in Washington and Lincolnshire.
When asked by students at Learn Charter School at Great Lakes May 3 about educational opportunities, Schneider was quick to point out students from the District attend nearly half of the state's top 20 high schools.
"Nine of the top 20 public high schools in Illinois educate students from the 10th District," Schneider said referring to the fact local schools were ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News and World Report.
Those schools are Deerfield High School, Stevenson High School, Highland Park High School, Lake Forest High School, Vernon Hills High School, Libertyville High School, New Trier High School, Glenbrook North High School and Glenbrook South High School.
On Tuesday, the same schools also made the list of the nation's best in a survey conducted by Newsweek. Though New Trier, Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South are not located in the District, many of their students live there.
"These schools are a large part of what makes our communities strong, and we must dedicate ourselves to bringing more and more Tenth District schools into the top tier of nationwide rankings," Schneider said. "Every student, regardless of zip code, should be able to receive a quality education."
Schneider spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives this week letting his colleagues know students from Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park took first place in the Illinois Future Problem Solvers Bowl recently to advance to June's international competition. They are partnering with a girls' school from Jordan.
"Their project--Tefkiir--connected them with a girls school in Jordan and began an exchange of books and educational materials. Quickly, the students realized how much they all have in common--how much more binds us than separates us," Schneider said. "These students, half a world apart, started this project together, and that's how they'll finish it."
Technology is also playing a role letting Schneider reach out to students. He did a Skype session with seniors from Grayslake Central High School. The students sent him question ahead of time and they had a give and take during the Skype session.
"I had a great time answering their questions and discussing the issues we face," Schneider said. "These students are growing into active citizens who aren't afraid to voice their opinions and speak out for what they believe in."
In addition to talking to students in Grayslake and Great Lakes, Schneider has been to North Chicago High School, Stevenson High School, Solomon Schechter Day School, the Round Lake Early Education Center and has talked to people participating in the Mikva Challenge.