Not really. College has a lot of filler, too, and kids have it drilled into their heads that they have to make good grades so they can get into college, and they have to go to college if they want a good job. As a result, about two-thirds of Americans go on to college, not just folks who truly want to learn. And although I've known plenty of high-school students that I consider to be basically adults, I've known orders of magnitude more college students who I don't. :-)
I'm similarly unconvinced of the need for education degrees, and that's coming from someone whose parents are both retired from teaching. It seems like a degree for the purpose of having a degree, rather than because it truly equips you to be a good teacher.
In my opinion, to teach well, you have to know a lot about a subject and be truly excited about sharing that knowledge. At its core, teaching is about finding ways to explain the material that the students can relate to, which means you have to really understand the subject so that when you notice a student who doesn't seem to grasp a concept, you figure out a different way to explain it. You have to constantly adjust your way of presenting material based on the composition of your class, because the explanation that worked well for one class may not work well for the next. One student may learn well through his ears, while another learns better through her eyes. And so on.
And to recognize when the students are struggling, a big part of teaching is finding ways to relate to the students, to get them to care about what you're teaching, and to get them to be open and honest with you when they're struggling, rather than a couple of weeks later when they fail the test. And IMO, the best way to get students to care enough to ask for help is to get them excited about learning the subject, which requires you to be excited about the subject. And the teachers who are most excited about a subject tend to be the ones who have immersed themselves in it.
In short, IMO, the best way to learn how teach is to first learn everything you possibly can about a subject, then actually teach other people about the subject. All else is meaningless.
Today, college teachers are subject-matter experts. High school teachers are often subject-matter experts. The farther you get below that level, the more it becomes a mixed bag. And that's a big part of what's wrong with our education system today. In our quest to retain the basic architecture of the one-room schoolhouse, where a single teacher teaches the kids every subject, we've created a system where the teachers are not subject-matter experts. They teach the things they're told to teach, and they do so by learning what they need to teach. This tends to result in a teaching style where teachers just regurgitate the textbook without adding anything above and beyond it. This style of teaching, of course, is not significantly better than just telling the students to read the textbook.
In an ideal schooling situation, you'd have a separate teacher for each subject, from the very beginning, each of whom was skilled in the subject area. You'd have a music teacher who was an actual musician. You'd have an art teacher who actually knew how to draw. You'd have a history teacher who loved history. And each of those teachers would make the subject exciting, because he or she would eat and breathe that subject. Those teachers would spend most of their college careers learning that subject, with remarkably little time spent on the mechanics of teaching.
After all, if you learn the most from the teachers who have the deepest understanding of a particular subject, then someone who spent most or all of his or her college career learning how to teach is likely to be uniquely qualified to teach pedagogy, and not much else. It's not that there isn't value in learning teaching techniques, but there are only so many hours in a college career, and every hour you spend learning about pedagogy is an hour that you could have spent learning the subject matter that you're actually going to teach, which in the long run, will likely be much more valuable, both to you and to your students.