Ron French

Project Editor/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 517-657-3501.

Articles

Whitmer orders Michigan stores to refuse entry to those not wearing masks

Whitmer orders Michigan stores to refuse entry to those not wearing masks

July 10, 2020 | Ron French, Paula Gardner

With coronavirus cases rising, Michigan’s governor toughened state face mask requirements. Starting Monday, expect to be refused entry to stores and restaurants if you’re not covered. Customers face fines, stores face closure for ignoring.

Whitmer: Michigan school reopening threatened by rising coronavirus cases

Whitmer: Michigan school reopening threatened by rising coronavirus cases

July 9, 2020 | Ron French, Riley Beggin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned Michigan families Thursday: If you want kids back in school in September, wear face masks today. She also hinted at stronger enforcement actions in the coming days.

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

July 8, 2020 | Ted Roelofs, Ron French

Michigan vaccinations in May were down 46 percent, raising health concerns about the flu and other illnesses. More troubling: rates for children 9 to 18 were down 66 percent, casting doubt on whether they will be allowed to enroll in school in the fall.

Nessel sues DeVos to stop coronavirus funding to Michigan private schools

Nessel sues DeVos to stop coronavirus funding to Michigan private schools

July 7, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan’s attorney general joined AGs in several states in suing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over CARES Act dollars going to private schools. A DeVos spokesperson said the funding is intended for all students.

Here’s why Michigan won’t require social distancing in schools this fall

Here’s why Michigan won’t require social distancing in schools this fall

July 6, 2020 | Ron French

Desks won’t be six feet apart at your child’s elementary school in September, even if that’s the rule in restaurants. School officials say bringing students back full time would make social distancing nearly impossible.

Michigan calls on schools to have masks but no social distancing in class

Michigan calls on schools to have masks but no social distancing in class

June 30, 2020 | Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s school reopening plan has one surprising takeaway: Schools can choose whether or not to bring all students back to class at the same time, with no state requirement that forces schools to run classes in shifts.

Michigan parents: School coronavirus measures great, but don’t stop sports

Michigan parents: School coronavirus measures great, but don’t stop sports

June 29, 2020 | Ron French

Most parents want schools to reopen in September, according to a University of Michigan poll.

Michigan moves to pause standardized tests amid coronavirus

Michigan moves to pause standardized tests amid coronavirus

June 25, 2020 | Ron French

With an ongoing pandemic and Depression-level unemployment, the state superintendent, a bipartisan group of legislators and leading superintendents want to take a year break from the M-STEP in 2020-21. 

 

GOP: Use $1.3 billion in fed money to bail out Michigan schools amid COVID

GOP: Use $1.3 billion in fed money to bail out Michigan schools amid COVID

June 23, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan Republicans propose shipping the majority of the state’s remaining CARES Act funds to schools, and requiring schools to offer in-person education for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Students return to University of Michigan in fall. Football? Ask us later.

Students return to University of Michigan in fall. Football? Ask us later.

June 22, 2020 | Ron French

Students will return to campus in Ann Arbor, and at least some classes will be held in-person. But expect more online courses, fewer seats in dining halls, and a lot of face masks. Football? Ask later.

What we know about Michigan college plans in fall amid coronavirus

What we know about Michigan college plans in fall amid coronavirus

June 22, 2020 | Ron French

The coronavirus has left college officials with hard choices about the fall semester — bring students back, continue remote learning, or find a hybrid approach. Bridge will track plans as they are announced.

With ‘no way’ to stay safe, coronavirus drives Michigan teacher to quit

With ‘no way’ to stay safe, coronavirus drives Michigan teacher to quit

June 17, 2020 | Ron French

Liza McArdle taught foreign languages for 27 years. Now, she’s saying adios to teaching, saying she fears safety precautions won’t be enough to protect her from catching potentially deadly COVID-19 at Huron High School.

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

June 17, 2020 | Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that schools will reopen in September. But what those classrooms will look like will vary greatly among school districts.

Michigan colleges vow to reopen in fall. Experts say read the fine print.

Michigan colleges vow to reopen in fall. Experts say read the fine print.

June 10, 2020 | Ron French

Many colleges and universities are planning for students to return to campus in the fall. But there are caveats due to the unpredictability of COVID-19. And on campus or off, college life promises to be much different. 

No band, buses or sports? Budget cuts could cripple Michigan schools

No band, buses or sports? Budget cuts could cripple Michigan schools

June 4, 2020 | Ron French

School leaders across the state are pleading for federal funding to ease otherwise crippling budget cuts caused by coronavirus revenue shortfalls.

Nearly a third of Michigan educators mull quitting because of coronavirus

Nearly a third of Michigan educators mull quitting because of coronavirus

June 4, 2020 | Ron French

A survey of Michigan educators reveals that thousands may flee schools because of the pandemic, putting further strain on a school system facing budget cuts and uncertain public health restraints.

MSU’s likely fall plan: face masks, takeout food and Saturday classes

MSU’s likely fall plan: face masks, takeout food and Saturday classes

June 3, 2020 | Ron French

College will be a far different experience for students in East Lansing in September, as the school works to keep students and staff safe from the coronavirus pandemic.

MSU football may return amid coronavirus but with fewer fans and face masks

MSU football may return amid coronavirus but with fewer fans and face masks

June 2, 2020 | Ron French

MSU President Samuel Stanley suggests college football could return safely, but with lots of testing, only 20 percent of Spartan Stadium filled and fans in face masks. Welcome to COVID college football.

White cops in black communities underscore tension in Michigan protests

White cops in black communities underscore tension in Michigan protests

June 1, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Ted Roelofs, Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Police departments in several Michigan cities have a lower share of African-American officers than the communities they serve, leading to some scars that have yet to heal. 

Michigan State to bring students back to campus in fall amid coronavirus

Michigan State to bring students back to campus in fall amid coronavirus

May 27, 2020 | Ron French

Classes will be back in session in East Lansing, but students will leave at Thanksgiving. Football weekends? Those are still up in the air.

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