First, education pays: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm However, people need to be smarter about what they choose to study and what they are willing to pay for it, especially in light of ever changing markets. High schools need better programs to help young people make better career decisions. Second, yes, credentialism is a problem, but credentialism has been promoted by business. It was created by the market and often adopted by state governments to support the desires of the market - or the desires of human resources departments. Still, my experience with grad school, in particular, was that I was paying the university to read my papers and score my exams simply to provide me the opportunity to demonstrate that I can read, think, and write. Grad school was a rip-off. No doubt. But it was my only route to a credential and licensure. I would much rather be given a stack of books and then have the opportunity to pay maybe $200 to take one comprehensive exam to earn my license. I didn't really need a degree from a university. Third, an "over-educated" society is a matter of perspective. The U.S. is not exactly over-educated, but we also rely on so-called illegals to fill the positions our under-educated are too lazy or too "proud" to tackle. There was a day when public schools purposely divided college-bound and laborers. This made sure we had sufficient laborers. It also turned out to be largely racist. College-bound were mostly white while other programs were mostly minority. Now we have NCLB, intended to close that achievement gap. Lastly, we need good civic education. People are not being taught to think critically. Our democracy is at risk. Literacy is important. In a thinking society elections would not be determined by money. Citizens United would not be a threat. But it is. We need quality education, and arguing that education is a waste of money won't help.