From the time that I was a very young boy, my parents always encouraged me to do my best in school and receive a proper education. I am glad they did, because I can see just exactly why education is important for so many reasons.
I work as a probation officer, and I have a number of probationers that are high school dropouts. Invariably, I have guys that come in that have committed a theft or burglary of a habitation, and whenever I ask why, the answer is almost always the same I needed the money. Even though they come from all different backgrounds, races, genders and walks of life, the common denominator is almost always that they don't have an education. That is one reason why an education is so important.
Another reason why education is important relates directly to my neighbor. He is a very good man who works at a factory and makes a pretty decent salary. He is able to afford his home and provide for his family, but not much beyond that. The reality of the matter is that he never went to college, opting just to work his way up through his company. That's fine, and there is nothing wrong with that, except now he is at a point where he wants to go into upper management, and is qualified to do so, but will not be able to because he does not have a college degree. It is very sad, and even though he does not admit to it, I know that is really bothers him. He is also in a kind of a Catch 22, because he needs the degree to continue to advance, but does not have any spare funds to pay for it at his current pay grade.
I've also noticed that educated people seem to get more out of life, because there is more to their lives than just working, coming home, watching television and going to bed. I am not saying that this is all uneducated people do, but another reason why education is important is because it opens up a lot of other venues and ways to spend your spare time, as well as the necessary funds to do so.
I want to reiterate that I don't believe that people without an education are necessarily going to end up as criminals, or in jobs that do not pay enough, or lead mundane, monotonous lifestyles. But when asked why education is important, my answer is that it greatly reduces the chances of those things happening and it typically provides a lot more options for people.