+1 for Paul.
You've hit on some core issues. While FOSS *can* be purely objective, it isn't. It has an underlying philosophy behind it and a political agenda as well.
I've been fairly vocal about my opposition to radical FOSS positions (those that insist on FOSS and only FOSS), I am most certainly glad that is exists and I would strongly state that FOSS is needed. I would go so far as to say that FOSS (in the Richard Stallman sense) is every bit as much a requirement for freedom and liberty as other factors. The transparency behind FOSS cannot be beaten, though it can be equaled. GPL software is generally garbage for me in the same way that the space shuttle is garbage for me as transportation, i.e. What are your needs/requirements?
For philosophy in the classroom, I would argue that this is a serious problem with the education system, as the classroom needs a strong philosophy to guide it.
Philosophy is the beginning of all knowledge. First, the metaphyics, and second, the physics. Everything else follows from there, and indeed, all of western civilization is built upon that exact beginning: metaphysics and then physics. (I do not mean physics as in the modern sense of physical science, but in the philosophical sense of physics, which led to modern physical science.
Now, there's is a difference between having a philosophy guiding education, and teaching philosophy.
I really think that philosophy should be taught in middle school and high-school. I would want to see it start with the skeptics and progress from there, with a strong focus on informal and formal logic. But, it seems educators are simply too short sighted to actually teach kids how to think properly.
For having an underlying philosophy behind education, I think that's what you were referring to, Paul. This is a difficult subject to approach because all the arm-chair philosophers out there want to get in their $0.02 when what they really need to do is either educate themselves on the topic or shut up.
How many times have you heard someone talk about their "philosophy"? Usually it's just a set of opinions with no real basis or support. (Now, I am aware that sounds somewhat arrogant, but I am trying to keep the term "philosophy" as an academic study that can have personal implications, rather than a personal opinion that is posing as a pseudo-academic study.)
Anyways, back to FOSS as all that is going waaaaayyyyy off track...
One of the core problems for FOSS is that it attracts a lot of people that cannot see past "free" (as in price tag) and understand the motivations behind FOSS and the reasons for it. This creates a misconception about what FOSS is, and that misconception gets perpetuated and only grows.
The "F" is FOSS has nothing to do with money or price. It is about "freedom". The GPL is NOT adverse to charging for software. People just don't do it because it is extremely difficult to pull off properly. The business model is non-traditional and simply scares people off. The traditional commercial/proprietary approach is much easier as a business model.
Check eBay for FOSS software being sold and you'll find lots.
The reasons for FOSS are far more involved and much deeper. They are political in nature. They are the same kinds of motivations that were behind the US constitution's right to bear arms (to overthrow an oppressive government), i.e. to help preserve liberty.
However, we have a very real problem with FOSS as the responsibility to preserve it is basically in the hands of a very few: developers. For a lot of FOSS software, in order to make use of the freedom that it affords you, you must be able to at least compile it, or dig into to code or even more. That's where the freedom is kept, not in the price tag.
Is that something that needs to be pushed on school kids? I rather doubt it. I have a hard time believing that there are many high-school kids that actually understand what those freedoms are and just how valuable they are. Heck, the American people sell their liberties for a small modicum of what they believe to be safety on a regular basis (e.g. the "patriot" act). (The same holds for other nations, but the Americans happen to be the most visible.) To put that another way, how many high-school kids have come face to face with a secret police or an intelligence service agent, and knew exactly what it is that those people do? I doubt many have.
Here are some prices for FOSS software
. ($50 for OpenOffice.)
FOSS should not be marketed based on price. Software that has a good price may be FOSS, but the two are not the same.
NSFW (and potentially offensive) joke about money and free
What's the difference between sex that's free and sex that you pay for?
Sex that you pay for is cheaper.
But the joke does make a point that is analogous to free software. Often it is cheaper to simply buy commercial software.
If the issue is about price, then it isn't about FOSS, as freeware fits the price category very well, even though it may be proprietary.
On a further unrelated tangent, I really never liked the "free as in beer" analogy as it really doesn't say anything clearly.
--End tangential rant--