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

In one tech-heavy cyber school, a low-tech strategy spurs learning

October 22, 2015 | Ron French

Cyber schools are all about technology. But in a field of struggling competitors, one Michigan cyber school is succeeding with an old-fashioned idea: person-to-person interaction.

Three years later, jury still out on Michigan’s cyber school expansion

October 22, 2015 | Ron French

Enrollment in Michigan’s online charter schools is exploding. But are kids learning?

Poll: Michigan voters strongly favor state prison reform

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

Voters back bipartisan efforts to lower Michigan’s prison population, in part by helping prisoners get job training so they can support themselves and are less likely to return to prison.

‘Clean slate’ law for offenders could be boon for business

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

A bill being introduced in Lansing would wipe criminal records for those nonviolent offenders who stay out of trouble, making it easier for them to get jobs.

Education leaders agree: High school students need better counseling

October 6, 2015 | Ron French

Career navigation experts echo a strong majority of Michigan residents who say every high school should have dedicated college and career advisors.

What we can do to reduce extreme college drinking

September 30, 2015 | Ron French, Nancy Derringer

Nov. 1, 2011 was supposed to be the day Michigan won an important battle in the war on high-risk college drinking. That’s the day a new state liquor policy, called the keg tag law, went into effect.

Unconscious students on hospital gurneys: A Game Day diary

September 28, 2015 | Nancy Derringer, Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

Universities are spending millions to curb dangerous drinking. Yet blackout partying persists in a puke-and-rally culture. Bridge investigates what works, and what doesn’t, in the ongoing battle to keep college students safe.

Stone-cold sober on game day? It really happens

September 28, 2015 | Nancy Derringer, Ron French

When the subject of campus drinking comes up, university officials at schools all over Michigan make sure to point out that thousands of students on their campuses don’t drink at all.

Michigan prison reform gaining momentum in fall session

September 24, 2015 | Ron French

A measure that would make it easier for inmates to gain earlier release could be the first of several bills to reduce the state’s prison population.

Michigan residents demand better college, career advice

September 17, 2015 | Ron French

Our students deserve better counseling to prepare for life after high school, whether they are pursuing a college degree or career. Residents are keen on requiring school counselors to receive training in college and career advice.

Legislative preview: Lansing tackles teaching, roads and inmates

September 10, 2015 | Ron French

It’s back to work for Michigan’s Legislature. A Bridge guide to the biggest issues lawmakers are likely to face this fall

Michigan’s stumbling middle class

August 13, 2015 | Ron French

Think you’ve got it tougher your parents did? You’re right.

School of choice, or a revolving door?

July 28, 2015 | Ron French

A Michigan policy allowing families to pick a school outside their home district for their kids to attend is wildly popular. But a first-of-its-kind study raises questions about who it helps – and who it might be hurting.

Worried about Michigan’s switch to the SAT? Six reasons to calm down

July 16, 2015 | Ron French

Free, online prep and fee waivers should help relieve anxiety over Michigan’s new college admission test

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.

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