MountainBiker, I just want to comment on a few of your statements.
1. “Self teaching is just not an option.”
No it’s not, when you are buying a monopoly through a government granted license or certification. BUT if you are in a cutting edge industry, autodidactic learning is the only choice. For example, Steve Jobs dropped out of university in his first six months and audited courses like calligraphy which he used for inspiration while developing the Mac computer. You got to admit the guy was successful.
2. “You can be assured there wasn’t any politics in their courses of study.”
When you swim in the waters of the state, you don’t have to actually “teach” anything. The universities once were privately funded. Now most universities are heavily reliant on funding from the state. Certainly this is true here in Canada. Please correct me if I am wrong, but everyone you mention in your family are working directly or indirectly for the state. This is a natural outcome of higher learning in a state-sponsored system. Once you become good at swimming in those statist waters, it takes a rare intellectual courage to walk away from that type of privilege.