Holy Cow! Banana, you said a lot! I'm not sure why people have such a negative view of education and programs of any kind. It comes from both educated and uneducated people. Universities and schools are not perfect by any means, but I would hate to see the alternative. I think that saying people who are educated are taught not to think for themselves is a bit of a cop out. If you are educated, not thinking for yourself is always a choice. It isn't education that makes people conform, it is the fact that they need jobs. Those jobs are useful not theoretical.
Creative writing programs are there to let people write and develop as a writer. I have a BFA in Creative Writing that is a double with Journalism. I can say with certainty that the journalists are much more full of it than the writing teachers ever were. I have an MS, and I can say with certainty that the courses in writing were MUCH MORE helpful than the courses I took in education. They do not turn out writers who are the same. If you are a writer, as with anyone, you are always in charge of your own education. You should be reading and writing on your own (which I'm sure you do being that I've read your work). Creative writing programs don't teach you how to put a car together. They are built for listening to other people's works, talking about it, and having someone with writing experience tell you what they see it in. In my 4 years in the program I read far more from students than I read out of a book (in those classes). So you are getting many voices, not just one. This article, and a lot of people I talk to, seem to think that creative writing courses are like factories assembling writers, but they better simulate a cafe than a workshop. You basically read 4 or 5 stories a week and comment on them, and you write maybe 4 to 6 stories a semester. Poetry is the same you have to submit so much and read so much. Most of the courses I had would assign maybe 1 or 2 short stories out of a book a week, and they would talk about the state of contemporary lit. Things that are published, things that are being published or made into movies. I never saw so much in the writing courses that would ever hurt anyone, and in the course I took ALL THE genres were encouraged (one prof was a award winning poet, and his favorite tv show was Deep Space 9). I would read a romance, a comedy, and a scifi piece in 1 sitting. My professors, as far as I ever saw, didn't care what the genre was, but if it was good they would say it was good.
It was also a community of writers. The program brought in famous writers and poets for us to see read their work. Those in the creative writing program were also asked out to bars or cafes after the reading to sit with these writers (some best sellers, some pulitzer prize winners) and talk or even play pool in some cases. We also were lucky enough to get to talk to them about their work.
The idea that a poet is at war with a scifi novelist or a that a creative writing teacher can't HELP you with a problem you are having in your writing is nonsense. The reality is, if you go and sit down with writers who have your best interest in mind, your writing is going to get better. If someone comes out of a college not thinking for themselves, chances are they never knew how to think for themselves in the first place. They sought out more of the same and got it.
Why is it that people are so quick to say you can learn how to write from a writing program, but you can learn how to paint or act? Well, now I WROTE a lot! HOLY COW!