Since I am an actual, real-live teacher in the NYC school district, I am going to share my thoughts. (And jump on the bandwagon of, "please don't judge me by my internet grammar!")
It's fantastic. And while everyone here is certainly entitled to their opinion, unless your child is a student in our district I really don't care how you think we should run it. GEML is 100% right when she says this is simply a common-sense move in response to the number of absences that occur on those days. Every single one of my Muslim students is absent. City-wide, the absentee rate is over 30%.
Those pointing out that this has nothing to do with making people observe a holiday they do not celebrate are also 100% correct. We don't make anyone attend a Seder during Passover and we certainly won't make students start praying to Mecca on Eid. It's like what Chris Rock said in response to states who refused to celebrate MLK day. "It's not like you have to do something black on that day. It's not like you have to watch soul train. All you have to do is NOT WORK."
I'm also extremely sensitive to this issue because I teach social studies. I can guarantee that the curriculum includes teaching the religious beliefs of all of the major, many non-major and even extinct religions. I literally do it myself. I also see the discrimination faced by my Muslim students and their families and it angers me. This is America, where you are FREE to worship HOWEVER you want. You have freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion. America was not founded as a "Christian nation," as any true scholar of history can attest. You don't want to celebrate Eid? Don't. Nobody cares.
If people really knew anything about history, they wouldn't be so up in arms about Islam anyway. They're following virtually the same path as Christianity; they're just 600 years behind. Those who are so offended by the extremists (as well they should be) might want to check out a little thing called the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition (just to name 2!) and climb down off of those horses.
I'm sorry for this rambling post but people's misplaced "outrage" makes me really angry. And again, if your child isn't a student in this district, mind your business. Because those of use who actually work here and have the experience, know that this is the right move for our students (which is our only concern as educators). The reaction to the policy here and elsewhere just proves how far we really have to go as a country.