Greta, there is no question that reading comprehension is crucial to students becoming informed voters.
If I were being strictly pragmatic, I would say that our real educational problem is with the worst-performing schools. Most of those schools are ones in inner cities. Here in PA, our largest cities have the worst schools: Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh. Here in my local area, the worst-performing school district is in one of our cities, which draws no students outside the city limits, mostly lower-income population. The other two cities consolidated their districts with adjacent suburban townships, so have a more diverse population spanning both high-income and low-income.
The large cities first mentioned have a very serious problem with violence in their schools. I'd say the best way to have the best impact on our educational situation is to improve the performance of the lowest-performing schools; starting with making them safe for the students (and teachers). All the school systems in our area (which is about 700 square miles), probably accounts for fewer students than the city of Philadelphia, all by itself.
In schools like those, they cannot draw enough of the best teachers because teaching there is downright dangerous. And, in those circumstances, even the best teacher would have a hard time. I'm guessing that if the kids in those schools can read at 3rd grade level, that is probably the latest age when teachers were able to control the students enough to teach them.
Maybe the real solution is to examine the schools that perform well, and then apply the precepts to the worst-performing schools in urban settings. That would impact the largest numbers of students who need the improvements most.
Ayres' program for the Chicago school system (which Obama was involved with in administering the funds for) turned out a dismal failure. It did nothing to improve the academic performance of the students. If Arne Duncan is a follower of Ayres, we have a problem right there. Even that Chicago teachers' union president (that we saw on YouTube video) made fun of Arne Duncan as someone capable of running a school system.