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NYC public schools to honor Lunar New Year

June 23, 2015 Associated Press
Bill de Blasio finally caved to mounting pressure to honor the Lunar New Year in the NYC public school system. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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New York City public schools will soon honor Lunar New Year as a holiday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Monday night that the school system would begin to recognize the holiday next year.

The mayor made the announcement official on Tuesday.

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Pressure increased on de Blasio in recent months to honor the holiday, which is celebrated in several Asian communities. The state Legislature was moving toward mandating the holiday.

Advocates noted that a full sixth of the city’s 1.1 million public school students are of Asian descent.

“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,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron. “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. 

It’s been a long push, and today our voices are heard.

I thank Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Farina, bill sponsors Assemblymember Kim, Congressmember Meng, Senator Golden, and Councilmember Chin, my colleagues and all the community leaders and advocates who joined our push for this change.”

Earlier this year, de Blasio announced that the city would honor the Muslim holidays Eid al-Firt and Eid al-Adha.

The state mandates that schools meet for 180 days.

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