Ron French

Senior Writer Ron French joined Bridge in 2011 after having won more than 40 national and state journalism awards since he joined the Detroit News in 1995. French has a long track record of uncovering emerging issues and changing the public policy debate through his work. In 2006, he foretold the coming crisis in the auto industry in a special report detailing how worker health-care costs threatened to bankrupt General Motors. In 2007, French uncovered Michigan’s educator pension and health-care costs that are now at the center of policy debate in Lansing. He is also the author of “Driven Abroad,” a book chronicling the movement of Michigan jobs overseas. You can reach Ron via email at rfrench@bridgemi.com, or call him at 517-214-3636.

Articles

Does Kalamazoo Promise success build case for more state scholarship funding?

June 25, 2015 | Ron French

Make college cheap enough, and more people graduate. Who knew?

Study offers financial, policy road map for Michigan education reform

June 25, 2015 | Ron French

A blunt new report lists ways to fix Michigan schools. Will anyone listen?

Grand Rapids cites the limits of state rankings to explain school gaps

June 23, 2015 | Ron French

Why do some low-income elementary schools in Grand Rapids perform better than others? Educators in Grand Rapids say that ranking formulas often do not reflect critical differences between seemingly similar schools.

How state’s new early childhood funding will help boost student learning

June 11, 2015 | Ron French

More than $30 million has been allocated for early reading initiatives in the 2016 state education budget. Many of the initiatives, intended to boost Michigan’s third-grade reading rates, followed Bridge reporting on the benefits of early investment in vulnerable children.

How a single, powerful senator killed serious reform of teacher evaluation

June 4, 2015 | Ron French

A bill to set rigorous statewide standards for evaluating teachers was backed by Republicans and Democrats, as well as the governor. Standing in their way: state Sen. Phil Pavlov, who has his own ideas about what's best for teachers.

Ball Q&A: Michigan kids ‘will lose’ with weak teacher evaluation bill

June 4, 2015 | Ron French

UM education dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball slams the Legislature’s latest bill to rate teachers. She urges the state to instead adopt her panel’s recommendations, which she said would be the nation’s gold standard for raising classroom performance.

Reforms could mean fewer prisoners, shorter sentences – and more money for potholes

May 17, 2015 | Ron French

The urgent need for road repairs could be the final push needed for criminal justice reforms to be unveiled Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

6 things we learned (and 3 things we didn’t) from Proposal 1 debacle

May 7, 2015 | Ron French

Legislators can’t write ballot proposals. And voters don’t read newspaper endorsements. Those are just two reasons why Proposal 1 failed.

Why does U-M accept so few low-income students?

May 5, 2015 | Ron French

A girl, a college president, and the struggle to increase income diversity on campus.

Is state’s defense of prison rape allegations another $100 million gamble?

April 16, 2015 | Ron French

Critics question the state’s aggressive defense of a lawsuit by young inmates who say prison officials failed to protect them from sexual assaults. An earlier suit by women inmates cost the state $100 million, far more than taxpayers would have paid had the state settled the case earlier.

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

April 16, 2015 | Ron French

A program meant to help young, nonviolent offenders get back on track is instead sending more to prison, where they say sexual assault is rampant.

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

March 26, 2015 | Ron French

From ACT prep to private tutors and advisors, middle- and high-income students are groomed to follow their dreams. For bright low-income students, the first obstacle is learning where to start.

Putting a college advisor in every Michigan high school

March 26, 2015 | Ron French

Getting low-income students to think about two- and four-year colleges is the goal of a program that can lift young people from poverty and boost the state’s economy.

March Gradness: NCAA brackets built on victories in the classroom, not the court

March 17, 2015 | Ron French

Grading Michigan State University and the other NCAA tournament teams on the academic factors that matter to average (much shorter) students.

College costs have doubled, even after inflation, and other frightening facts (Chapter 1)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

Think you can still pay for college delivering pizza? Think again. Bridge presents 6 realities facing today’s college student.

The crazy cost of college, a cultural timeline (Chapter 2)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

Hemlines rise and fall, but tuition just goes up.

Four reasons why Michigan college prices have skyrocketed (Chapter 3)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

The state bears blame for the high cost of higher education, but students aren’t blameless, either.

It’s all about family for one State Champ

February 3, 2015 | Ron French

Ashley Community Schools conquers poverty, small enrollment and other rural challenges to become an academic overachiever

‘Why is THAT school an Academic State Champ?’

February 3, 2015 | Ron French

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers about how Bridge determines district and school rankings

A Great Start to preschool expansion

January 27, 2015 | Ron French

21,000 more four-year-olds are benefitting from free, high-quality preschool in in just two years thanks to extra state funding

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