As mentioned before, education really is one of the main ways anyone can get out, or stay out of poverty. Check out this graphic from the U.S. Department of Labor. It really sums it all up. Basically the more educated you are, the greater your earnings potential and income over your lifetime will be and the less likely you will be unemployed.
Note: Data are 2007 annual averages for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.