Not very, if several recent stories are any indication. When it comes to education, money is often spent in strange ways.
Of course, listening to any economist right now is probably unwise, if these tongue lashings of the profession are any indication.
From Barry Ritholtz
there were systemic failures in economics as a discipline, at least as it is employed in the real world
From Paul Wilmott:
The jargonizing of complex ideas based upon irrelevant assumptions into an easily used and abused building block on which to build the edifice of nonsense that is modern economics.
From Robert Skidelsky
Economics, especially in its mathematicized form, purveys a peculiar vision of society.
From Arnold Kling:
[rather than doing useful things] the economics profession for the past thirty years instead focused on producing stochastic calculus porn to satisfy young men's urge for mathematical masturbation.
From Felix Salmon
Why should we trust the economists now
This entire story
Many of the jokes here. My favorite
You might be an economist if... you can translate plain English into incomprehensible gibberish.
And this paper from Daron Acemoglu
Much of the criticism centers on the lack of real world applications provided by the profession. Moreover, this seems to be deliberate on the part of economists. As Raghuram Rajan says
Most academics are really reluctant to take part in the public dialog, because the public dialog requires you to have an opinion about things you can’t really be sure about… They fear talking about things where everything is not neatly nailed in a model.