Fraud! Misleading information! A huge price tag for America! I'm not talking about the mortgage-backed securities meltdown. I'm referring to the new TOM LOVELESS ALGEBRA STUDY.

AP story here. The main point: The number of kids taking "Algebra" doubled from 1990 to 2007--but test scores for these 8th graders have actually declined. Call it the name game: the prestige of the course labels goes up, the amount of learning goes down. Just wait till reformers tackle "Calculus."

Enrollment continues to decline in a number of big-city school systems. In Washington, DC , the student population is down 8 percent from last year, in large part because of charter school expansion. And Cleveland's schools are serving fewer than 50,000 kids for the first time since 1894. (The district peaked at 150,000.) The cities are on the leading edge of this trend; with children from the baby boom echo now graduating from high school, many schools across the country are going to see a contraction in coming years-except places serving the influx of new immigrants.

Wondering why k-12 education doesn't seem like a salient political issue this year? Yes, it's mostly because of the economy and Iraq, but there are bigger trends at work. Even eight years ago, when schools were a top issue, a lot more families had children going through the system. Now they have moved on, and so has public attention.

Don't fret though; in another 15 years or so we'll see another expansion as the baby boomer's grandchildren start heading to school in droves....

Arrival was on time; blog notification was not. Nevertheless, the issue is spectacular. Lesson from this week? Everybody's reading Fordham material.??Terry argues that based on his speech in Dayton last week, Obama just may have snagged an advanced copy of the Fordham report Accelerating Student Learning in Ohio: Five Policy Recommendations for Strengthening Public Education in the Buckeye State. We can't prove it, of course, but we have our suspicions. Then,??Mike compares Detroit to AIG and gets the attention of Governor Granholm. Elsewhere in the issue, we see tales of bats taking domicile in a school attic in Utah and a popular New York City elementary school getting the big fat F from Chancellor Klein.

Or so Liam argues in the Weekly Standard. With his usual panache, Liam reviews Charles Murray's new book, Real Education.

David Hoff has found the 10,000 pound gorilla that is NCLB, and the "Washington Consensus" to boot.

I didn't expect my call for Michigan to declare Detroit Public Schools bankrupt to lead to action so quickly. But it doesn't sound like the state is willing to go far enough. While it's true that Michigan took over DPS not so long ago, the state wasn't willing to make the dramatic moves necessary to changing the dynamics on the ground. Now is its chance to get it right with a true fresh start.

National Review Online must have been a fan of Fordham's Education Olympics, for this week it has articles by not one, but two of its stars, Roy Romer and our own Mike Petrilli. Romer offers??the sensible and familiar argument that too many large school systems are in crisis and that "we cannot continue to just do more of the same." What we need, he argues, are "exacting standards," "quality teachers" in every classroom, pay-for-performance plans, and more pay for "those who teach in under-performing, at-risk schools."

I'm sure Mike would agree with those prescriptions, but today he's in no mood??for mere incremental reforms, worthy as they might be. In districts like Detroit, whose mammoth failures mirror those of Wall Street, he writes that

States have a long history of coming to the rescue of huge urban districts, long after they have demonstrated an utter inability to get results or balance their books... What's needed is a fresh start, a do-over, a clean slate for Detroit. Simply put, the state should declare Detroit Public Schools bankrupt. Michigan should take it into receivership and void or renegotiate all of its contracts (including its collective-bargaining agreement with the


Mike shares his pearls of wisdom on a September 9th NCLB NBC special.

So says Checker Finn in today's Columbus Dispatch. For some good advice about education in Ohio, and beyond, see here??and here.