12/18/2012 08:22 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

The False Promise Of The Education Revolution - College, Reinvented - The Chronicle Of Higher Education

Last year, leading lights in for-profit and nonprofit higher education convened in Washington for a conference on private-sector innovation in the industry. The national conversation about dysfunction and disruption in higher education was just heating up, and panelists from start-ups, banking, government, and education waxed enthusiastic about the ways that a traditional college education could be torn down and rebuilt--and about how lots of money could be made along the way.

During a break, one panelist--a banker who lines up financing for education companies, and who had talked about meeting consumer demands in the market--made chitchat. The banker had a daughter who wanted a master's in education and was deciding between a traditional college and a start-up that offered a program she would attend mostly online--exactly the kind of thing everyone at the conference was touting.