Modelines are among the most arbitrary wastes of time ever inflicted on Linux users (and I say this as an ex-graphics driver writer). You'd spend the afternoon reading docs and fiddling little numbers just trying to get the stupid video card and monitor to sync without flickering. The only lesson you'd remember is that most graphics hardware is junk... which you already knew.
You'd rather see people monkeying around with VESA tables instead of working with Linux? You advocate FORCING people to learn this antiquated stuff?? You should force them to key in the bootloader using front-panel switches instead, at least then they learn the machine architecture.