Guess whose schools were closed? The poorest, the neediest, the children of color. Now the charter operators will decide which ones they want. They will take the “strivers.” Who will take the others?

Which children will be left behind in the era of No Child Left Behind?

Which children come in last in Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top?

How will the PR folks spin the mass closure of 50 public schools as a victory in “the civil rights issue of our time?”

It is historic. Never in our history have 50 public schools been shuttered at one time. Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Byrd-Bennett will enter the history books, undoubtedly in a chapter about the corporate assault on the very principle of public education. No doubt, the hedge fund managers and equity investors are clicking their champagne glasses tonight. Quite a victory for them and Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, and yes, for ALEC.

The great social movements of the past 60 years advanced through the mechanism of public education: racial desegregation; gender equity; the inclusion of children with disabilities. And what began in the public schools radiated out into the society as a whole.

The page on which Rahm Emanuel’s name is inscribed in the history books will record this day of infamy, this betrayal of children, this abandonment of an institution that has been so essential to our democracy.