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

Why rural Michigan teens are skipping out on college. It's not grades

July 12, 2018 | Ron French

If Michigan is going to deepen its talent pool, it needs to figure out how to get more rural high school grads onto campuses, and how to keep them there.

To get first-generation students to college: Could the answer be…a bus?

July 12, 2018 | Ron French

While other universities struggle to get rural and first-generation students to apply, Central Michigan University came up with a surprisingly simple solution: foot the bill to bring busloads for campus visits.

How a California college program for inmates pays returns for taxpayers

July 10, 2018 | Ron French

Why should convicted killers get free college? It’s a good question, with a surprisingly easy answer

Public outcry delays Michigan social studies standards

June 29, 2018 | Ron French

Proposed changes in what’s taught as history in classrooms from kindergarten through high school are causing an uproar. The state is extending public hearings through September.

Ignore the sticker price at Michigan universities. Here’s the real cost.

June 28, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

Bridge shows the surprising differences between the published price and the real cost of attending Michigan’s 15 public universities. Students from middle-class and low-income families take note.

Groups join hands to fix Michigan schools. Will it make a difference?

June 21, 2018 | Ron French

Leaders from education, business, unions and philanthropy announced Wednesday that they will huddle to improve the state’s lagging public schools.

Crowds growing to protest changes to Michigan social studies standards

June 20, 2018 | Ron French

Public meetings that attracted just a few folks have grown bigger and louder since Bridge revealed conservative changes to Michigan K-12 social studies standards.

Michigan school board Dems: We will block conservative social studies changes

June 14, 2018 | Ron French

References to gay rights, Roe v. Wade and climate change have been stripped from state K-12 social studies standards. Democrats on the state school board have the votes to block the changes, and vow to do so

Michigan’s top teacher on Betsy DeVos, school shootings and testing

June 13, 2018 | Ron French

Luke Wilcox isn’t shy about sharing his opinions, with Bridge Magazine or the U.S. Secretary of Education

What Michigan schools can learn from craft beer

June 13, 2018 | Ron French

To turn around Michigan schools, stop trying to produce Budweiser, and brew more Oberon. That’s the TED Talk message (without the actual alcohol) of Michigan’s Teacher of the Year.

History gets a conservative twist in Michigan social studies standards

June 12, 2018 | Ron French, Lindsay VanHulle

Abortion, climate change and gay rights are gone from proposed new social studies standards. State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and conservative groups gained influence on what will taught in Michigan classrooms.

Truth Squad | Bill Schuette says Michigan is ‘last’ in third-grade reading

June 7, 2018 | Ron French

Few would argue with Schuette’s point that Michigan’s public schools must vastly improve. We’re struggling, but are we the worst?

A Michigan school devoted to innovation. Here’s why others won’t follow.

May 22, 2018 | Ron French

Michigan schools may be flailing, but major reform is tough. Just look at Kent Innovation High.

He loved teaching math in Michigan. Then he quit to manage a Chick-fil-A.

May 17, 2018 | Ron French

What does it say about Michigan schools when working at a fast food restaurant is more appealing – and more profitable – than being a veteran teacher?

Three-peat! Bridge Magazine earns Michigan Newspaper of the Year three years running

May 11, 2018 | Ron French

Bridge Magazine won 30 awards from the Michigan Press Association, swept five categories, and took home its third consecutive Michigan Newspaper of the Year award.

Once at rock bottom, this Northern Michigan elementary now produces stars

April 26, 2018 | Ron French

Michigan’s low-income fourth-graders have some of the lowest reading scores in the nation, and few fared worse than students in Cadillac. Four years later, Cadillac fourth-graders are high-flyers. How did they do it?

See how low-income students fare in your Michigan school district

April 26, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Poor children in Michigan struggle compared with more affluent classmates. See how your district is faring in this Bridge school database.

On nation’s report card, Michigan students remain in back of class

April 10, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan schools continue to trail most states in academic achievement, floundering in the bottom third of all states, according to the national NAEP test.

How Michigan schools are suffering, shown in 10 slides

April 10, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

A few steps forward, and several back, as Michigan struggles to revive its schools

Teens raped in prison have civil rights, Michigan appeals court rules

March 27, 2018 | Ron French

A lawsuit involving more than 900 teens who say they were assaulted behind bars can proceed, after the state’s second-highest court throws out a law designed to kill such lawsuits.

Pages