I asked some follow up questions about Le Cordon Bleu (American) and culinary schools more generally.
The opinion of the chefs was that LCB's biggest downfall (or co-biggest along with cost) was that they were terrible about job placement.
Other culinary schools, from the Culinary Institute of America down to the community college programs, usually offer really good job placement opportunities. In many of them, including the CIA, students do rotations through restaurants that have long standing relationships with the school. That gets you real kitchen experience and some references as well. Some people can get a job after graduation at one of those kitchens, too. Culinary schools (other than LCB) also have pipelines into jobs with hotel chains, which gives you a decent paying job right off the bat but also means that the hotel chain is likely to move you from place to place around the country which sucks once the novelty wears off. Unless you are already known in a kitchen (such as through a previous rotation), a culinary school grad has to start out on the lowest rungs to prove that he/she knows the basics such as knife skills, sauces, and so forth. Then they're given a test on the line to see if they can handle stress and if they can work their short term memory quickly as orders come and go. Once those tests are passed, just like people who come in without a culinary school diploma, you could be moved into a more interesting position.
I also described Chef Old El Paso's meals. The former and current chefs laughed their butts off, as we did. They said that either this woman went to just a vanity short course or she's lying about having gone to any culinary school at all. Food safety is stressed from the get-go (no licking raw steaks or your fingers, this was met with looks of true horror when I described it). Structuring a menu and timing courses is stressed, as well, both in culinary school and coming up through kitchens. There was a long discussion on how easy it is to cook the things she was trying to do. Oh, and using old ranch dressing from the back of the fridge for people who paid beaucoup bucks, that elicited gales of laughter and a comment that maybe it was her own cooking that made her throw up.