The purpose of education is to help students reach their full potential, create a promising future, and give students life skills that they can use after graduating from high school. Learning through education prepares students to be able to perform duties that the average citizen can accomplish. Examples of these skills include reading, writing, adding simple and complex numbers, and being able to contribute positively to society. Education is the foundation for success for any child, regardless of age, race, or social class; it is one of the greatest survival skills needed to live a comfortable life. Through education, students can reach any goal that they wish to accomplish. Education is merely, a pathway to reaching one’s career desires.
For education to be the “great equalizer,” policymakers will need to view education through a human capital investment and a critical race theory lens. There are many positive implications stemming from all students’ receiving a quality education with clear financial benefits to individuals, the economy, and society at large. National trends in the last two decades have shown a sharp increase in investments toward incarceration funding versus educational per-pupil funding. This increase in incarceration funding leads to the concept of school-to-prison pipeline, which is a collection of educational and public safety policies and practices that push school children out of the classroom environment and into the streets, the juvenile justice system, and/or the criminal justice system.
Historically marginalized students will have an opportunity to receive a high-quality education if educational dollars are prioritized for hiring and retaining high-quality teachers, providing meaningful professional development, reducing class sizes, increasing teacher salaries, and maintaining school facilities where students feel safe and supported. School divisions in Virginia are bound by the Virginia Constitution to ensure that the educational programs in schools are of high quality and continually maintained. The quest to narrow the prevailing student achievement gap and high school dropout phenomena through financial reform will require educational funding to be prioritized through a vertical equity lens. A quality education is not only the launching pad for students to be college and career ready, it is also necessary for success beyond the classroom.