The Sun reports Mayor Bloomberg doesn't think Muslim holy days should become school holidays. His reason? "The truth of the matter is we need more children in school. More, not less."
The topic comes up because City Councilman Robert Jackson, who is Muslim, has introduced a resolution requiring public schools take holidays on Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Ul-Adha. Ten percent of the NYC school population is Muslim.
Jackson argues that parents should have to decide "whether or not to send their students to school on the holiest day of the Muslim calendar, celebrating the month of the fast of Ramadan, or to send their kids to take a test." Additionally, cities like Dearborn, MI and Trenton, NJ have incorporated the holidays into their calendars.
Mayor Bloomberg's point: "When you have a city as diverse as we do, with virtually every religion known to man practiced, if we closed school for every single day there wouldn't be any school." According to the Education Department's calendar, students do get off for Rosh Hashanah (two days) and Good Friday. Non-religious holidays observed: Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Memorial Day (in addition to days where there are regents exams, teachers' workshop days and various breaks).
In 2004, some students at Brooklyn International High School claimed their principal was not allowing them to take time of for Ramadan; the principal explained they needed parental permission but some didn't get it. In the end, the students were allowed to miss the four Fridays associated with the holiday.