"When teachers try to be friends and colleagues to undergraduates,
especially freshmen, instead of teachers, students have to make decisions
they are ill equipped to make. . . Would an editor allow a writer to set up
his own criteria and judge his own performance?"
This is exactly what I've been trying to say, only you said it
better. Vegetables are good for you, and maybe you don't know
everything you need to know (or how to acquire that knowledge) from
birth. (Talk about an assumption!) And you're right: "Real"
writing situations are almost always terribly prescriptive and
task-bound, so why shouldn't simulations be just like that?