More than half of the country — 170 million Americans — uses public broadcasting every month. And we are once again the subject of a debate in Washington, D.C. — whether or not to maintain funding of public television and radio to ensure that noncommercial children's, cultural and news programming is available to all Americans, regardless of their ability to contribute financially. For many, we are their only source of free educational programming.

More than half of the country — 170 million Americans — uses public broadcasting every month. And we are once again the subject of a debate in Washington, D.C. — whether or not to maintain funding of public television and radio to ensure that noncommercial children's, cultural and news programming is available to all Americans, regardless of their ability to contribute financially. For many, we are their only source of free educational programming.

In the 2010 Roper Poll, a significant majority of Americans consider public television to be very important. The survey went on to point out Americans highly value and trust public television.

Annual funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting amounts to $1.35 per American and provides direct funding to local public television and radio stations. Local stations, on average, leverage each federal dollar to raise over $6 more from local sources to provide Americans with high-quality programming and services.

In 2010, public television programming won more news and children's Emmy and Peabody awards than any other media company, confirming public broadcasting is one of the most valuable and effective public/private partnerships in America. Washington needs to know what you think. Go to 170MillionAmericans.org. — Mark Stanislawski, president and CEO, SOPTV, Medford

When a corporation gets large enough, it has resources to stifle the competition. We broke up Standard Oil in 1891 under the Sherman Antitrust Act. We broke up the Bell Telephone monopoly in 1984, and in those cases entrepreneurs then created jobs and wealth.

We stopped enforcing the Sherman Act, and repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932, and now we are in a great recession and had to give bailouts to the banks too big to fail. You cannot claim to desire a free market and then back banks too big to fail. You insist upon employer-based health care and then celebrate employers who cut those benefits.

The Republicans made it illegal to import drugs from other countries. That is not free-market principles. Go beyond Fox if you love America. Learn. Hold Republicans to the standards you hold Democrats. Otherwise you are part of the problem. — Wesley Brown, Medford

I applaud the Medford School Board's decision to add Marlene Yesquen to its ranks. Growing up in the valley and attending Medford schools, I distinctly remember Hispanic students being overlooked and ostracized by students and teachers alike.

What critics miss is that Ms. Yesquen was not selected simply because she is Hispanic. She was selected because she has demonstrated her devotion to the Hispanic children in the valley through her volunteerism and community involvement over past years. As a well-respected attorney, she also is an invaluable mentor. Who better to be an advocate for a growing percentage of our children? — Jamie Hazlett, Medford