The question is what does society need. Our education system is set up to provide our economy with the types of workers it needs; engineers, doctors, lawyers... and our education system is quite good at doing exactly that.
Educated people are paid significantly more than people without an education. There is a reason for that, the skills that educated people tend to have are very useful to employers and to society at large.
An education teaches you to solve problems... and it gives you exposure to different types of problems and different solutions, not just the ones that come to you naturally. An education teaches you to express ideas concisely, and to work with other people and communicate to your managers.
A good education exposes you to ideas that don't initially interest you; I am an engineer, one of my most valuable classes was on sociology. I was forced to take this class (it was required for my degree), I didn't think I needed it. It turned out to be very valuable to me (and is one of the few classes that I still talk about).
There is also research to show that a college education increases morality and ethical behavior.
There are many types of smarts in the world. But, education is focused on the types of intelligence that are needed to run the economy and earn good salaries.