It's all very well to say that some people just want a vocational education, or a piece of paper that will entitle them to a pencil-pushing white-collar job, but students who simply aren't aware that they can do better/different shouldn't be forced to settle for that--for whatever their dumb uncle or high school guidance counselor told them was their best course.
In short, tracking students--especially if we're talking about 18-20 year-olds--into two different kinds of degree, one of them a "lite" degree meant for students of more modest ability or ambition, seems to be to be saying that kids who went to crappy high schools, or who were academic screw-ups or just immature in high school, aren't capable of intellectual change and growth in college. And my experience (and I think your own?) suggests otherwise.
Last night, FLG responded that this is why he isn't advocating eliminating these requirements altogether, but instead reducing it from two years to one. But something about Flavia's point has stuck in FLG's head.
On one hand, there's something to this. One doesn't know what one doesn't know, and 18 year-olds certainly don't know what they don't know. FLG was lucky enough to be exposed to a variety of cultural pursuits that led him to value the liberal arts. And it is unfortunate if students who would flourish personally, intellectually, and professionally after having been exposed to humanities never have the experience.
On the other hand, FLG remembered this passage from Plato:
And, therefore, calculation and geometry and all the other elements of instruction, which are a preparation for dialectic, should be presented to the mind in childhood; not, however, under any notion of forcing our system of education.
Because a freeman ought not to be a slave in the acquisition of knowledge of any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.