Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

This afternoon, Deval Patrick is scheduled to take the traditional “Lone Walk” down the steps of the State House to end his two terms as governor.

As a State House News article explains, “Meant to symbolize the governor rejoining the Commonwealth as a private citizen, the departing governor traditionally walks by himself out the front gates of the State House, which are opened for foreign dignitaries, a visiting U.S. president, and for the governor’s walk.”

“The walk… traditionally takes place the morning of the inauguration, but former Gov. Mitt Romney broke with that tradition in 2007 by doing it the night before to give Patrick the spotlight the next day.”

The article adds: “‘When Governor Patrick was reflecting on his experience with Governor Romney, he felt his inauguration was very special and with the way Governor Romney handled it, he wanted to extend the same courtesy,’ said Patrick administration transition director Brian Gosselin.”

So Patrick is taking the walk today to let Governor-elect Charlie Baker have the spotlight tomorrow during his inauguration. 

As we’ve blogged before, Governor Patrick has been an ardent supporter of early education and care.

In a 2013 statement calling for a renewed investment in education, Patrick said, “This is about creating opportunity and economic growth. After twenty years of good work and experience at reforming education, we know what works.” His proposal included $350 million for the state’s early education and care system. “If we are going to accelerate our growth and create opportunity, we must invest. This is not only about the students’ social and economic future – it is about ours.”

During Patrick’s tenure, Massachusetts was awarded two federal pre-K grants: a $50 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant; and a $15 million Preschool Development grant. Patrick also signed into law An Act Relative to Early Education and Care (2008) and An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency (2012).

As U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan writes about Patrick’s record on education in this week’s Boston Globe op-ed, “Quite simply, Massachusetts leads the nation.” Duncan praised Patrick for efforts include moving “approximately 5,000 poor children off waiting lists and into high quality early education.”

Massachusetts still faces challenges, Duncan notes, adding, “But I am convinced that Massachusetts will choose to go to the next level, to take on all this and more and continue to lead the nation. This state has a real opportunity to do that, and I know that Governor-elect Charlie Baker shares a passion and commitment to education, and has an opportunity to help take the state to the next level and become a governor who is a national leader in education.”

As for Patrick, he’s been in a reflective mood as he closes up shop, giving final interviews and presiding at the unveiling of his official State House portrait.

Recalling his time in office in this video, Patrick said, “You know, I have less hair, a new hip… fatigues I didn’t have before, stresses I didn’t have before, but it’s been worth it.” He said it has been the many “magic” moments of public service that have been profoundly rewarding.

Thank you for that service, Governor Patrick.