The Chinese Lunar New Year is almost here, and with it comes the age-old annual debate: should city school kids get the day off? Former Mayor Bloomberg maintained for years that there were already too many school holidays, despite pushes from elected officials like Assemblywoman Grace Meng and State Senator Daniel Squadron. But there's new management in the Year of the Horse, and it looks like times might be changing, because Mayor de Blasio's crew is down with giving kids the day off.
Both de Blasio and new City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito say it's high time the holiday was honored by city schools, particularly since about 15 percent of students in the system are Asian-American. "The way we build understanding is by really respecting culture,” Mark-Viverito said at a rally in Queens yesterday. “The population of Asian-American children needs to be recognized. So we will be doing [a] resolution in support of a call for a holiday."
Not that adding a school holiday doesn't come with its caveats. The school calendar would have to be changed to meet minimum requirements, and de Blasio's previously noted that the system will need to work with "logistical dynamics, the state law dynamics and budgetary dynamics" in order to make the holiday a reality. He's also looking to add Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the day-off calendar. The last school holiday the city added was Martin Luther King Day, in 1986.