A generation ago you needed those "basic skill' to enter high school. We considered the first eight grades quite important as high school was often quite out of the question for the small town and rural people. But we seemed to have turned the schools into "Child Development" with all the attendant nonsense we see.
But not so long ago waiting until you were 21 or 25 or 35 to get a job and support yourself was consider the path of the idle, the layabout or a VERY select few professions such as medicine.
But now a degree or even PhD in Gender Studies or Music of the Left Eye Dominate Oppressed Persons equips us for something--I guess.