Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year/Final Exam Controversy

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Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year/Final Exam Controversy

Post by Andy Mai on Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:39 pm

Chinese New Year is a traditional time for the Chinese people to celebrate the New Year according to the old Chinese calendar. It is a time to mature and ward off evil spirits for the coming year. But should this date be considered a holiday? Does it appeal to enough people like Christmas for the New York City Department of Education to establish it as a holiday? Or is it just too random because it appears on different dates every year?
Many say Chinese New Year should be considered a holiday on the school calendar saying it is no different from Christmas, Hanukkah or even the new calendar’s New Year on January 1st. It is a holiday where many Chinese students and workers take off in China and this trend has occurred in the States too.
Even if people wanted a day off, is it okay for only one certain group to be absent? But how about Christmas and Hanukkah? Is it okay to award a week to everyone even if it does not concern everyone? The topic is controversial because there are two sides to the story.
So we have had school on the Lunar New Year every year, why complain about it this year? The reason any of this even comes up is because of the January 2009 Final Exams in Brooklyn Technical High School. It states on the 26th of January there will be final exams inconveniently on the Lunar New Year. The problem is not what is but what could have been. The Chinese New Year was placed on the first day of Regents Week with hope there would be no school in 2009 on Chinese New Year. Schools such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science have not scheduled final exams on that Monday January 26th while Brooklyn Technical has. This issue is why the 26th and why not the 21st, a Wednesday, where January finals were originally advertised. In previous years students have taken the Lunar New Year off to spend time with their families in previous years but this year would be an exception. While students, that Chinese New Year effects, don’t want to fail finals they also don’t want to spend the New Year taking exams when they can be spending time with their family.
On the other side would be the Final Exam committee which is a group of teachers that gets together to create the exam schedule led by Mr. Palmer. Mr. Williams has said that the teachers were not aware that the Lunar New Year was on the 26th when the committee met so it is not the committee’s fault. Mr. Williams also advised that if you would be taking the Lunar New Year off, you should speak to your teachers about taking the exam at an earlier date.
The final exam dates of 21, 22 and 23 were all subject to change because the Regent’s Exam schedule was released at a later date and this year would start off on the 27th making the 26th the last day of classes for the fall term.
I think overall the Chinese New Year cannot be established as an off-holiday because it is an ethnic cultural holiday (same with any other ethnic holidays). We cannot single out a certain ethnicity and allow everyone a day off. Christmas and Hanukkah are religious holidays and here in the United States of American we offer religious freedom so we cannot assume somebody is not this or that.
-Andy Mai
Andy Mai
Andy Mai

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