I had a very exciting morning with teachers, parents and students who were picketing outside Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.

Teachers and parents walked in front of the majestic exterior building, on the sidewalk where cars could see them. Several people held up signs saying “Honk if you support teachers,” and there was a cacaphony of honking horns as cars and trucks passed by.

As the minutes passed, the crowd grew to be hundreds of people, and they chanted “Hey, hey, Ho, Ho, Austin Beutner’s got to go!” And many other inspiring lines about supporting teachers and public schools.

The UTLA understands exactly what’s going on. Its President Alex Caputo-Pearl and his members understand that the billionaires bought the school board so they could expand the non-union charter presence. Charters now enroll 20% of the district’s children.

A day earlier, the UTLA held a mass rally in front of the California Charter Schools Association, the billionaire-funded lobbyists intent on destroying public schools in the state while prohibiting any accountability for charter schools and fighting any limits on charter school growth.

The billionaire-bought LAUSD has starved the public schools, which helps the charters.

The picketing stopped for short speeches. Parents, teachers, a celebrity (Rock Star Stevie Van Zandt) spoke. So did students, both of whom are seniors at Hamilton. One young man said, “We get it. They are targeting black and brown communities. They are trying to destroy our schools by denying us the education we need and deserve. They are dividing our district into haves and have-nots.” Another senior asked the audience to imagine what it was like to be in classes with nearly 50 students, where there were not enough chairs or desks. She said she took a chemistry class and sat on the floor all year because there was no other place to sit. She couldn’t get into an AP class because there were not enough chairs or desks.

The national media says the strike is about trachers’ pay but they are wrong. No one mentioned salaries except a parent speaker. The really important issues are class size, lack of money for full-time nurses in every school, lack of money for librarians and counselors, lack of money for the arts.

When I had my few minutes to speak, I pointed out that California is probably the richest state in the nation, but the latest federal data show that it spends less than the national average on its schools. California spends about the same, on a per-pupil basis, as Louisiana and South Carolina.

That’s shocking.

The good news today, aspesker said, was that a poll conducted by Loyola Marymount, reported that the strike has the support of 80% of the public.

Even if the national media misses the point, the people of LA understand that teachers are striking for their children and for future generations. They are fighting billionaires like Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, the Waltons, the Koch brothers, and other billionaires, for the survival of public education.

The whole world is watching.