Last night, I appeared on the Ed Show. It was brief, possibly four or five minutes. But I have learned that in television, one minute is an eternity. Every minute is precious. Out there is a huge audience, maybe a million people. It is rare to be on any TV program where there is time for an extended discussion.

What I appreciated about the Ed Show is that it is the first television program, to my knowledge, where the host has a fundamental understanding of the historic threat to the future of public education. He gets it. He ran a clip of a protest in Philadelphia against the actions of the School Reform Commission. Ed may or may not know that Pennsylvania has systematically underfunding the public schools of Philadelphia. He may or may not know that the chief executive officer of the district, a former gas works executive, recently commissioned a plan from the Boston Consulting Group that would privatize a large segment of the district’s public schools. Boston Consulting Group is one of those ubiquitous business strategy groups that tells everyone what to do without knowing anything about their business. Romney’s former company, Bain, was an outgrowth of BCG.

Yes, there is a historic threat to public education. For over a century, we have treasured our system of public education. Now it is encircled by rightwing ideologues who see a chance to achieve their goal of getting the government out of education; by hedge fund managers who think they know everything; by corporate executives who think that a business plan will solve all problems; by ambitious politicians who see a chance to please their major campaign contributors; by for-profit entities that see a money-making opportunity; and by opportunists who teach for two years and then leave to make their name as “reformers.”

We need to see and hear more on the Ed Show. And we need other influential figures who are willing to think for themselves, stand up to the powerful, and defend the commons.