Michelle Rhee. Diane Ravitch. Joel Klein. Howard Fuller.

Love’em or hate’em, here’s your chance to hear straight from their own mouths.

This is where you’ll find videos and podcasts of national education experts who’ve stopped to talk in Denver. Many were brought in by the Donnell-Kay and Piton foundations for their “Hot Lunch” speaker series. Others have come at the request of groups such as the Colorado chapter of Democrats for Education Reform.

Speakers include the celebrities of the education world such as Ravitch, the outspoken critic of the education initiatives favored by President Obama, and Klein, the New York City schools chancellor whose work hews closely to those same reforms Ravitch despises. By the end of 2010, both Klein and the like-minded Rhee were out.

But speakers also include lesser-known folks such as Steven Adamowski, the superintendent in Hartford, Conn., who’s turning around one of the nation’s poorest school districts. And John Danner, who’s creating a hybrid model of instruction that combines online and in-classroom learning – an attempt to stem the burnout that afflicts teachers and principals working long hours to close their students’ achievement gaps.

The speakers are presented here in order of appearance, with the most recent listed on top. Or click on the link in the adjacent grey box to go straight to your choice. We’re adding through the 2010-11 school year.

All recordings are by Education News Colorado staff. And yes, we’re getting a better handle on this whole video thing. Tell us about speakers you’d like to see at EdNews@ednewscolorado.org.

♦ ♦ ♦

March 2011 – Wendy Kopp, founder, Teach for America

Wendy Kopp created Teach for America as her undergraduate thesis project at Princeton University. Twenty years later, she wrote a book A Chance to Make History and spoke in Denver about what she’s learned in growing a program that funnels the nation’s best and brightest into teaching in high-poverty schools. Story.

♦ ♦ ♦

December 2010 – Michelle Rhee’s next move

Michelle Rhee resigned as D.C. schools’ chancellor in October, after her boss lost his re-election bid, and started Students First, a national advocacy group. She spoke in Denver about what happened in D.C., her vision for Students First and why teachers who don’t believe they can make a difference should leave the classroom. Story, more video clips here.

♦ ♦ ♦

September 2010 – LA’s Cortines speaks his mind

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines talked about lessons learned in 50 years in public education, from teacher to superintendent, and he pulled no punches. Story, more videos here.

♦ ♦ ♦

August 2010 – NEA kicks off tour in Denver

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, chose Denver as the first city in a weeklong national tour highlighting reform initiatives in which teachers’ unions are playing a key role. He visited the teacher-led Math and Science Leadership Academy and offered praise for district-union collaboration on projects such as creating a new educator evaluation system. Story, more videos here.

♦ ♦ ♦

May 2010 – A new financial model for charters?

Hot Lunch presentation with John Danner, co-founder of Rocketship Education, a charter network that combines online and in-class instruction. Danner, a veteran of the Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP, helped create the hybrid model as a means of closing the achievement gap between low-income and more affluent students without burning out teachers and principals. Story and more videos here.

♦ ♦ ♦

April 2010 – Q & A with Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch, the education historian once known for supporting reforms such as charter schools and testing, spoke at a Hot Lunch presentation about what has caused her to change her mind. Ravitch also debated state Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, about his controversial measure changing how teachers and principals are to be evaluated in Colorado. His bill later passed and is now state law. Story and more videos here.

♦ ♦ ♦

February 2010 – 5 Questions for Eva Moskowitz

Eva Moskowitz, the outspoken New York politician-turned-charter CEO, talked about the enduring controversy surrounding charter schools, co-location and segregation. She said the spotlight on charters as a favored initiative of President Obama has only made the topic hotter. Story here.

♦ ♦ ♦

January 2010 – Saying YES to college

Chris Barbic, an alumnus of Teach for America, is the founder of YES Prep charter schools, where students must be accepted to a four-year college in order to graduate. Barbic spoke at a Hot Lunch about the school’s retention rate – he loses about 5 percent of students a year – and the challenge of requiring students to earn college acceptance before they can collect a diploma. Story and link to audio podcast of his talk here.

♦ ♦ ♦

November 2009 – Howard Fuller speaks at Manual

Howard Fuller is director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University and the co-founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. He is also a former superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools who preaches the gospel of school choice, including vouchers, for poor families in low-performing urban school districts. Full story here.

♦ ♦ ♦

October 2009 – Lessons learned in NYC

Joel Klein, chancellor of the nation’s largest school system, spoke in Denver about the reforms he’s implemented that have made him revered by some and reviled by others, particularly the leadership of the teachers’ union. The problem, Klein said, is the school district serves many needs well – just not those of its students. Story, audio podcast here.

♦ ♦ ♦

October 2009 – Green Dot’s toughest test

Green Dot’s chief academic officer, Cristina de Jesus, and administrator Kelly Hurley spoke at a Hot Lunch about the lessons learned in their first year at Locke High School. The charter network founded by Steve Barr took over the troubled Watts high school in a closely-watched attempt to reverse years of poor performance, low attendance and high dropout rates. Story and audio podcast link here.

♦ ♦ ♦

September 2009 – Supt. explains Hartford’s big turnaround

Steven Adamowski is superintendent of schools in Hartford, Conn., America’s second-poorest city in the nation’s second-wealthiest state. He spoke at a Hot Lunch about a system that gives great autonomy to high-performing schools – and much less to lower-performing ones. Story and link to audio podcast here.

♦ ♦ ♦

April 2009 – Rhee urges continued reform

Michelle Rhee, the headline-grabbing chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, spoke to audiences in Denver and Arvada in April 2009 about her education reform philosophy and her battles with the teachers’ union.  Story, more videos, link to audio podcast.