In a pointed Letter to the Editor in the Chicago Sun-Times(dated April 25, 2024), CUEL assessment specialist Paul Zavitkovsky argues for a balanced reading of the Chicago Public Schools’ recent record in advancing childhood literacy. Grantingthe claim of a recent op-ed that CPS faces a chronic “illiteracy epidemic” among low-income students, Zavitkovsky situates that challenge within a broader pattern of success in Chicago, particularly when compared with other large urban school districts. Based on a line of data analysis which he developed at CUEL, Zavitkovsky points out that in 2019 40% of low-income African-American students in CPS met or exceeded state-wide reading averages, a gain of 11% over the average in 2014 and 23% from 2001. “There’s clearly more to do,” he concludes.“But over the last two decades, no other large city in the nation has moved this far, this fast.” In his view, a balanced appraisal of Chicago’s literacy program can give CPS educators, students, and parents “the credit they deserve” while acknowledging the urgent need to redouble efforts to meet the on-going literacy challenges facing the city’s low-income students. Follow this link to access Paul’s letter.