The NYC Department of Education released the new school calendar today for the 2021-2022 school year. It looks like school will be starting almost a week later because Rosh Hashanah starts on the night of Labor Day so teachers need not report until Thursday, September 9, 2021, and school will not start for the kids until Monday, September 13. Snow days are now asynchronous learning days so forget about them.
This is not the controversial part. One million Italian-Americans in NYC were not consulted about the change from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day on the calendar. I am not going to go through the entire historical judgement on Columbus here. That is way beyond the scope of this posting. Let's just say if you judge him in the context of the 15th and 16th centuries, he comes out a bit better than if you use today's standards. (This may come as a shock to some of you, but I never taught from the perspective that just about everything the United States and Western culture have done has been for some nefarious purpose.) On the issue of the DOE calendar, the fact is many Italian Americans are not happy that Columbus Day was eliminated as a holiday. It is still recognized as a New York state official holiday.
There are also two changes in the observed holidays this year. First, the non-attendance day on October 11, 2021, will be in observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day, with Columbus Day removed from the calendar.
That decision was quickly blasted by Republican lawmakers.
City Council members Joe Borelli and Steve Matteo and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis issued a joint statement demanding the Department of Education restore the name "Columbus Day" to the holiday, claiming it was removed without any public announcement or fanfare.