The fact is that not all of us (including me) have the time, patience and raw talent to become a craftsperson. That's why I'm a big fan of what I'll call unpretty-but-functional DIY. If I was in charge of overarching design education policies, my goal would not be to help craftspeople become craftspeople, because if they have that drive and talent they will be able to make it happen on their own. My goal would be to help the everyperson—the clumsy, the non-handy, the aesthetically-challenged—learn to build basic things. Because the more of us we have building our own things, the better. If only 1% of us can become craftspeople, I'll bet twenty times that number can become unpretty DIY'ers.
I'm a big fan of the Ana White Homemaker website, because she's a housewife and mother living in a remote region who learned how to use tools and build her own basic but functional furniture. In addition to posting tutorials of her own projects, she also posts reader submissions. The latest to catch my eye is this workbench project form Blake Allan, a DIY'er relocated to a region of the Philippines where tools and materials can be hard to come by. "I was able to find a biscuit joiner over here, but no biscuits," he writes, as one example.
Allan freely admits the design is not his own, but shows how he was able to build a sturdy, serviceable workbench out of nothing but two-by-fours and plywood. The main criteria for a workbench is that it needs to be able to support serious weight and it can't rack when you start applying shearing forces to it. But Allan knocked his up without having to cut mortises and tenons, using nothing but butt joints. Have a look.