Thinking About The Valley Patriot’s 10th Anniversary

By: Peter Larocque – March, 2014

The most frequently asked question that I receive when the topic of The Valley Patriot newspaper comes up is why do you write for The Valley Patriot?

The quick answer is, I want to and Tom lets me.

But there is more, another reason is that when I send in my column, Tom does not edit the content. Spelling is checked and paragraph spacing is performed but that’s about it. The Valley Patriot reader gets unaltered commentary and news.

My very first column was in November 2006 entitled, “Parent Involvement, A Missing Element in the Lawrence Public Schools”. I wrote this as a new member of the Lawrence School Committee. I believe the column could be written today and the topic would still be very pertinent to our times!

Here are two memorable quotes in the column; According to the President of the National Education Association, Reg Weaver, “To reach their full potential, students need parents to take an active role in their education. Parents should be their children’s favorite teacher.” The President of the United States stated at the fourth anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, “Schools that succeed have got parents who are involved at the school. Parent involvement is a very important part of the success of schools around America.” When you read these, you can see for yourself that they could have been spoken yesterday and be right in step to what is going on now. There are still too many empty school parking lots on report card night.

Another reason I am proud to be a part of The Valley Patriot and why I believe what keeps the Valley Patriot relevant today?

As long as I can remember, The Valley Patriot stood and still stands for lesser and smaller intrusive government.

Just take the topic of Lawrence public schools; there alone we see how big ineffective government does little to change what it starts out to change. From the beginning until now I have been against the state taking over our public schools. The parents, the people, the voters of Lawrence, including the elected Lawrence School Committee should be the ones overseeing our children’s education, not unelected bureaucrats from Boston! It doesn’t matter how much money Mr. Riley our Receiver/Superintendent attracts and brings into Lawrence.

It doesn’t matter how many photo opportunities that are made available for all elected and unelected officials to participate in. One man, one individual with all that power most often leads to trouble. How many times does this need to happen in Lawrence before we learn our lesson? Also I am fully aware and understand that my opinion means nothing to those in power! I get that! This is why I have no problem saying that I do not believe that it was the Lawrence School Committee’s fault for the state takeover. This, my friend, falls on the lack of leadership by the former mayor, Mayor William Lantigua! I refer to the 81 page report of an audit of the Lawrence public schools that was conducted by the state’s Education Department. That report refers to the inability of the former Mayor to lead the Lawrence public schools in a productive manner.

I could go on and on, but I believe you, the readers of The Valley Patriot, are aware and are educated enough to know when big government beginning from Governor Patrick on down, is out right not telling you the truth.

So having said all the above, I am very proud to say that I am a part of The Valley Patriot family. I consider it a privilege to write a column every month and have readers who see me at the grocery store or at a city event, come up to me and encourage me to continue writing and making a case for conservatism.

For this I say thank you to all and thanks to Mr. Tom Duggan for allowing me to write.

God bless you all and may God continue to bless The Valley Patriot!

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Peter Larocque