Education is critical in society. We know that of the students falling behind in reading milestones as early as 3rd grade, 74% still struggle in 9th grade. This reading proficiency is an early indicator of graduation, with children not meeting benchmarks by the end of third grade being 4x more likely to leave school without a diploma. Students with the lowest reading benchmarks account for 1/3 of students overall, they represent over 63% of those who do not go on to graduate high school. The situation becomes even more frightening when you look into the impact of illiteracy on criminalization. In fact, 3 out of 5 people imprisoned in the U.S. are illiterate and 85 % of juvenile offenders have reading difficulties. When we talk about working to end the school-to-prison pipeline and addressing the gun violence epidemic we are facing, education has to have a place in every discussion. Our students have to hit their benchmarks, meaning schools and families need more access to and funding for resources.