The education system in the United States is in crisis for many reasons, including funding shortages, recruitment and retention of teachers, and performance levels of students.
But one issue is often ignored, and that is due to standardized testing, which only monitors basic English and Math levels, rather than a broad based education.
Students at all levels from elementary through middle through high school, and into the college and university level, lack a general knowledge base.
When they are encouraged to read, they usually engage in fiction reading, which is fine and good, but inadequate training for life.
What is short changed is learning about the world around them in reality, rather than fantasy. They already gain enough fantasy from video games, and while reading fiction is important, it is not enough to deal with the realities of life.
Students need to develop language and communication skills, which require the learning of factual knowledge about science, history, public affairs, and the arts. They emerge as adults with basically a blank slate of awareness, and poor language and communications skills.
To make things worse, students spend inordinate amounts of time online on social media sites, which isolates them further from reality and in mastering important skills to succeed in life and at work and in relationships with other human beings.
So emphasis on nonfiction reading is essential in order to prepare students for the world they will live in!