The Lunar New Year is Now a School Holiday in the City
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Yesterday, State Senator Daniel Squadron was alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens, to officially announce the inclusion of the Lunar New Year as a school holiday.
While there’s always been chatter about adding the celebratory day to academic calendars citywide, Margaret Chin set the wheels in motion with her endorsement back in early 2012. It’s been a slow but steady political process, one that received a fervent legislative push in early 2014, with the support of then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Assemblyman Ron Kim. A few months later, the State Senate gave the bill the green light, which required the DOE to close schools if the holiday was “likely to result in a considerable portion of students being absent.”
And now it’s official. Senator Squadron further praised the Mayor for pressing forward with this school year revision, and stressed the positive impact that it will have on the cultural landscape and city as a whole.
I’m thrilled our hard work to include Lunar New Year as a school holiday led to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today — and in time to ring in the Year of the Monkey. For years, we pushed so that those who celebrate Lunar New Year are no longer forced to choose between class and their most important cultural holiday. The Mayor’s pledge and today’s addition of Lunar New Year to the school calendar send a strong and meaningful message that as the city changes, the school calendar must change with it. Asian-Americans make up 15 percent of New York students, and absentee rates in some schools are up to 80 percent on Lunar New Year.