Pennsylvania's standardized test scores have steadily declined over the last three years, according to the state Department of Education's filings with the federal government. The dropoff has been especially stark among some of the commonwealth's most at-risk students.
It appears that the tensions have subsided, at least for the moment, between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the commonwealth's fiscal watchdog.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale blasted the agency earlier this month for being uncooperative with a performance review.
For the first time, Philadelphia's high school selection application -- used by about 60 percent of District students to apply to up to five schools outside their neighborhoods -- is entirely online.
It's a matter of convenience for the District and the students, according to Karyn Lynch, the District's chief of student services.
The process makes things easier on the District by cutting out time-consuming data entry, she said, adding that parents can access the application on smartphones or other mobile devices.
Philadelphia School District officials say time is running out for ASPIRA of Pennsylvania to resolve a host of fiscal concerns that could jeopardize its future as one of the city's largest charter providers.
"We've had numerous requests for them to provide information and address those concerns," said Lauren Thum of the District's Charter School Office. "And while we received verbal indication that they are working on them, they have not submitted anything officially in writing back to us in response."
Students at the University of Pennsylvania are pushing for the private institution to contribute more than $6 million to Philadelphia and its struggling public schools.
Like other nonprofits in the city, Penn only pays property taxes on a small portion of the land it owns. As a result, students argue, the school should pay what are known as PILOTs, payments in lieu of taxes.
In kelly green T-shirts, they linked hands and prayed for a neighborhood.
"Germantown is a place with many seeds that are ready to swell," said the Rev. Lorelei Toombs, senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. "As the sun shines down on us today ... show us the beauty of the spring that is to come."
For the first time since 2007, the Philadelphia School District heard applications for new charter schools Monday.
For years, citing the costs of growing the charter sector, the District has imposed a moratorium on new charter expansion. That changed this year because of an amendment written by Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) that was added to the state cigarette tax authorization bill.
During the moratorium, the District has opened Renaissance charters, where operators are required to serve all students within defined neighborhood boundaries.
The grassroots outrage in Philadelphia continues after the non-indictments in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, N.Y.
On Friday, students at three of the Philadelphia School District's top-performing high schools staged protests of what they see as miscarriages of justice.
It's all come down to a pair of hearings.
On Monday, members of the Germantown Community Charter School Coalition will head to School District headquarters on North Broad Street to publicly present details of the group's application for a new independent charter school in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.