I know this is an un-popular opinion but the educational release should boot right into a GUI with no password prompt.
I completely agree with you, it should start straigt into the GUI by default it should be easy to change if schools really want they can combine it with a sort of domain that you just log in to the domain on it.
As a tinkering device no password is good
especially when its used in a lab environment unless there is a need to use a pw it doesnt need one in a school lab, once students use/get there personal SD card and installation they should use a pw.
Different situations will require different options here, as with most aspects of the 'Pi. Any 'Pi connected to a network MUST surely be password protected, but I agree that as a stand-alone "tinkering device" the option to not have a password should be available. (in most educational scenarios, I imagine, the 'Pis wouldnt be handed out straight from the box to pupils – there would be some testing and configuration to suit local conditions by IT technicians or teaching staff beforehand.
Incidentally, I have recently installed three different distros, and none required a password by default.