I humbly point you to Systems Boy, a man so amazing I am not worthy of even adding extra hash-bang to his bin-bash..
I believe in understanding the tools of your craft. The great Renaissance painters understood the chemical interactions of pigments in oil. They knew how to mix primer and rabbit skin glue, and how to construct and stretch canvas. These days we have paint in tubes and pre-stretched canvas, but any painter worth his salt still has a fundamental understanding of the chemicals in paint and the best way to go about making a stretcher. Computer art students would do well to follow this model. And, quite frankly, they should do so happily. They should be in love with their tools. If they're not, maybe they should find another medium.
Personally, I feel very much the same way.
There's not much I can add to SystemsBoy's rant except this: lack of knowledge (or even the desire for knowledge) about the systems one relies on isn't just something that affects art students. It's something I've seen in far to many so-called IT professionals as well - "web developers" who don't understand HTTP, let alone TCP/IP. "Application support" people who don't understand how to code, nor how to maintain the underlying OS. "Developers" of any sort who try to write client/server apps with any knowledge of TCP/IP...
I'm going to shut up now before I start offending people.