With Lunar New Year — also known as Chinese New Year — starting in less than a week, several area politicians have teamed up to push for the international celebration to be recognized as a school holiday in NYC schools where the area has at least a 7.5 percent Asian American population.
State Senator Daniel Squadron, who represents parts of Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Williamsburg) and Lower Manhattan, is co-sponsor to the bill (S160/A276), which proposes that the city Department of Education either create the school holiday or swap the professional development day held on Brooklyn Queens Day for the first day of the Lunar New Year.
“It’s time for our school calendar to reflect the huge number of kids whose families observe Lunar New Year,” said Squadron. “One of every six [city] public school students is Asian American — and they’re forced to choose between spending their most important holiday with their family or going to school. From Chinatown to Flushing and throughout our city, a school holiday would allow students to celebrate without missing class.”
Squadron’s co-sponsors are State Senator Toby Ann Stavinsky and Assemblymember Ron Kim of Flushing, Queens. The bill is supported by Congressmember Grace Meng, and Councilmembers Peter Koo and Margaret Chin.
Support for the creation of a school holiday recurs every year, but has not gotten far in the past.