Why are the most selective schools and universities so highly valued?
After all, if you control for intelligence and personality, differences between schools and colleges make approximately zero difference to 'hard' life outcomes such as jobs and salaries
So, as we realize that elite education nowadays makes no real difference, people are ever-more hysterical about its importance.
The reason for the elite education bubble, regular readers will not be surprised to hear, comes down to political correctness.
Of course, what content you learn does make a difference - but a big feature of the education bubble is that people are all-but-indifferent to educational content: what is important is going to the prestigious schools and colleges - simply attending elite educational institutions, as a warm body...
(And of course, it must be officially attending the institution: since 'merely' getting the benefit of teaching - as an elective student or or 'auditing' courses - does not count. This relies on elite institutions as proving a reliable 'screen' for admissions - but implicitly acknowledges that, aside from this, they are not superior.)
(Yet we know for sure that admission to elite institutions are not a reliable screen - since they all deploy affirmative action, and also admit women and men in equal proportions - or an excess of women, both of which mean they cannot be picking the highest aptitude students.)
Well, it doesn't make sense until you remember what intellectuals 'know' when (as they almost all are) in thrall to political correctness.
1. PC Intellectuals know (correctly) that there are big differences in average success between the graduates of different educational institutions - they know (correctly) that the children in their PC Intellectual social circles almost-all get into elite educational institutions and move onto elite jobs.
So they seek an explanation...
2. PC Intellectuals 'know' (falsely) that all humans are equal in ability when they are conceived, because they 'know' that intelligence and personality (and other factors that influence success) are equally distributed between sexes, social classes, and races.
3. PC Intellectuals also 'know' that the intelligence and personality are NOT hereditary (or, at least, not to any significant extent) - these are 'known' to be shaped by childhood experience.
4. PC Intellectuals therefore 'know' that intrinsically everybody can do anything - unless prevented from doing so by their environment.
5. PC Intellectuals therefore 'know' that the huge differences in adult success 'must' be caused (substantially) by educational differences.
6. Therefore, PC Intellectuals 'know' that if they can 'get their kids into' the most successful schools and colleges, their children will have the best chance of success. Therefore elite education is perceived as an investment. It may cost a lot of time, money and effort, but all this will be worth it in the long term.
Hence the hysteria around access to elite education, and the rapidly inflating prices.
All a consequence of politically correct 'knowledge'.