What to Know
- From erasing snow days, to renaming Columbus Day, the city's Department of Education calendar changes have managed to upset some people, including the city and state’s top officials, who are from Italian-American families.
- Columbus Day and snow days will never be the same in city schools. Snow days will turn into remote school days while Columbus Day has been changed to Indigenous Peoples/Italian-American Heritage Day.
- Both changes received mixed opinions.
From erasing snow days, to renaming Columbus Day, the city's Department of Education calendar changes have managed to upset some people, including the city and state’s top officials, who are from Italian-American families.
Columbus Day and snow days will never be the same in city schools. Snow days will turn into remote school days. Parents first noticed the change when they saw the DOE’s new school year calendar.
Some students aren't too thrilled of the change.
Third grader Jeremiah Lopez, a student as P.S. 17, said he would much rather play in the snow during a snow day. But, some parents wonder if a little extra learning isn’t such a bad thing.
The most education we can get for these kids is the best for the future," Jasmine Falcon, a parent in Williamsburg, told News 4. Meanwhile, Lucia Gutierrez, also from Williamsburg, said: "It is what it is. You’ve gotta move with the times."
Snow days aren't the only significant change on the DOE calendar. Columbus Day is also seeing a major change.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg is home to the Giglio Feast – a staple of the neighborhood’s Italian heritage with Mayor Bill de Blasio also attending in years past.
This Wednesday, he admitted that the DOE changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples/Italian-American Heritage Day caught both him and the schools chancellor by surprise.
“The process wasn’t right but the end result, I think, that’s a good way forward, he said.
Meanwhile, the DOE said that “Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s day will celebrate the contributions and legacies of Italian-Americans and recognize that native people are the first inhabitants of the land that became our country,”
The change drew sharp criticism.
"It’s an insult to Italian-Americans and a violation of rights," said Andre Dimino, a board member for the Italian-American One Voice Coalition. "Columbus Day is a federal holiday, it’s been celebrated now for a long time and the DOE, especially in the City of New York, should not be doing this.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ageed, believing Indigenous people should have their own separate days of recognition.
As for snow days, one parent suggested making remote learning shorter on snow days as a comprimise in order to also give kids time to play in the snow.
Meanwhile, de Blasio hopes comprimise is what people aim toward when it comes to sharing a day to celebrate Indigenous people and Italian heritage.