"I would like to bring some sources which indicate that secular learning is important - not just because it is required by the government. I will be adding sources and commentaries over a few days - so check back for updates.
"[I] Shabbos(75a): R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's name: … he who is able to calculate the cycles4 and planetary courses but does not, one may not praise him … R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the authority of Bar Kappara: He who knows how to calculate the cycles and planetary courses, but does not, of him Scripture saith, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the operation of his hands.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name: How do we know that it is one's duty to calculate the cycles and planetary courses? Because it is written (Devarim 4:6), "for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples", what wisdom and understanding is in the sight of the peoples?9 Say, that it is the science of cycles and planets.
"Rashi (Shabbos 75a): In the eyes of the nations – because it is a self-evident wisdom because the accuracy of his words is testified by the movement of the sun and constellations. For example he says that this year will be rainy and it is is in fact so or that this year will be hot and it is so. That is because the nature of the seasons are determined by the movement of the sun and the constellations and their influence. Everything is determined by the stars and the time that the sun moves and interacts with the stars..." cont