Amazing, insightful, and moving personal comments. I agree with everything you've said. I think that what's sad about this article is that it is based on the underlying assumption that education is about training for financial prosperity and global competition. So many news articles, TV specials, and general media attention around the "failing state of education" in the U.S. center on how we've fallen behind internationally, and that the way to reverse this trend and "succeed" is to dump more money into science and technology programs that will produce future workers. And while I believe that we should support these efforts, I think that the incessant focus on money, money, money and global competition takes away from learning for learning's sake. Even in 2013, I think that is still a useful stance to have; that education should be about learning first and foremost. I know that will always be contested, but it is worth talking about as a public.
So chin up, optimisticlearner, take comfort in the fact that you're approaching learning in a way that makes the most sense FOR YOU. As a lifelong student who is about to get her Ph.D. in Urban Education, I have found that you can learn because you're a voracious learner AND be financially responsible.