The destruction of education has occurred during more than one wave. I'm no longer young, but I'm apparently not as old as you are. By the time I came around, classical education was already long dead and buried. My concern about theists is for present day attempts at destruction of what's left after a classical education was long gone to dust. The theists are trying to dismantle what little has survived. Your concerns run further back. (And I'd be willing to bet you're not old enough to remember when a classical education was available in primary school in the US either. Supercentenarians are rare.)
There's little doubt that the current system was instituted in order to churn out factory workers, not citizens. I have no quibble with that assessment. I will go further and say that the current situation has been exacerbated by the particularly moronic belief that the phrase "all men are created equal" is meant to be interpreted as "all humans must be identical". "Equal opportunity" has been used as an excuse to punish and denigrate and eliminate exceptional performers, despite all lip service to the contrary. Political correctness run amok, in other words.
I think because I'm genetically predisposed to think, and I do so in spite of my primary (public) school education, not because of it. But the flip side of that, when you shove aside the errors induced by too much political correctness, is the bald reality that a great many people literally don't think very well. No matter how well they're taught, they never will. I am once again treading on one of Slashdot's sacred cows here, but I think I can depend on the depth of the thread for cover. There's a guy floating around Slashdot with the sig quoting George Carlin's comment about considering how stupid the average person is, then realize that half of them are dumber than that. It's funny because it's true.
So a system meant to churn out factory workers, while of dubious value to the modern American economy, at least addresses the educational needs of a great mass of humanity. The loss for people who CAN think but can't afford a private education is fairly severe, but society will muddle along, putting a selection of both bright and dumb rich kids through a more rigorous education and hoping for the best. Meanwhile, the factory-level educations produced are head and shoulders above the norm for what the masses used to get, so condemning the factory education system is a little premature. Literacy and semi-literacy is at an all time high, worldwide, as is numeracy. A 17th century classical education was all well and good for those who got it, but they were by far the exception. I'd be willing to bet a fair number of those who were in the vicinity of where a classical education was being taught still didn't get one. Being rich then excused just as much as it excuses now.
Given the reality of who is benefiting most from a factory education, bringing up questions like the origin of the universe (if any) is doing them a disservice. I know these people. I'm related to a fair number of them. Their horizons simply do not extend that far, and they get confused and angry when confronted by the fact that other people do see further. They simply can not discuss such topics meaningfully. I know. I've tried. This is probably why something like Big Bang has crept in to the factory education, if indeed it has. Does presenting it as fact shut down thought? Not really. Certainly no more than the previous theistic explanation shut down thought. There was very little thought present in the first place. Somebody, somewhere, probably thought they were doing people a favor by providing another explanation to replace a theistic explanation that's in shambles.
I personally am in favor of continuing to dismantle theistic explanations. They were bad. They were extraordinarily bad, both as explanations of anything and as frameworks for running a society. It is perhaps debatable which is worse, theistic fanaticism or nationalistic fervor. Both have killed millions, down through the millenia. My money's on the theists. "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." -Steven Weinberg
I will close by addressing your sadly mistaken response where you apparently read less than 1/3rd of what I wrote. I am staring at your philosopher self (despite your sig) from the engineering side of the fence, and sorry, but I have the typical engineer's assessment of philosophy. Vast tracts of it are moonbeams and fairy dust. Logic predicated on axioms that have no bearing on reality is irrelevant. "Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence."
Some of philosophy is valuable. Some of it is exceedingly valuable. A carpenter's son in Nazareth suggested the rather revolutionary idea that ran, in English, "Do unto others..." and the fact he was otherwise a self-deluded lunatic doesn't negate the value of that idea. I've enjoyed reading much of the writings of Christopher Hitchens, and surely if a classical education has survived anywhere, it has survived at Oxford, and Mr. Hitchens was certainly a philosopher. Yet he too ran to certain self-delusions and ideas based on pure dreck. (His defense of the Second Iraq War being the head of that list. For the purposes he thought it served, he should have been advocating a war in Saudi Arabia.) So even those philosophers who have managed to generate something valuable served up a fair helping of fairy dust along the way.
The fairy dust is apparently a prerequisite, so I guess I have to tolerate it in order to get the occasional gem, but I do wish more philosophers would stay the hell away from anything a physicist has explored in detail. It is a conceit of philosophers that physics can be discussed without the language of mathematics, but that ship sailed two centuries ago. Philosophy was, is, and ever shall be most useful when exploring the human condition, not meddling around in the ultimate nature of reality. Physicists today have enough to worry about without getting wound up in Zen koans.