"For thousands of years, schooling (as we know it) didn't exist. People learned from their families and as apprentices." - anon
And, for thousands of years slavery, patriarchy and rigid class distinctions were the norm. Does that make those things good? For thousands of years, the poor have been taught by their fathers how to scrape by in the same profession, while the rich have been taught by hired tutors how to retain their position of prestige. Public schooling has been called the "great equalizer" for good reason. Many people have put their lives on the line for the chance to receive what you are so casually casting aside. For those who have grown up privileged, it is easy for them to say that public schooling has added little to their success, for it hasn't. Their birth and upbringing is what has led to that. But, for those who lacked the luck to be born into families that pass on the experience and means to achieve more than most are capable of, public schooling is their means and experience. You harken back to the day when one was born a lord and died a lord or born a peasant and died a peasant, with no chance of improving one's life. Our society, thankfully, has progressed beyond that, due to public schooling acting as leveling force. Is it perfect? No. Would I trade this imperfection to return to a time when birth played more a role in determining one's station in life than their ability? No. A thousand times, no.