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

Rich-poor achievement gap won’t budge. Is investing in teachers an answer?

March 19, 2019 | Ron French

Students from poor families are, on average, more than two years behind their wealthier classmates. Poverty plays a huge role in student scores, but can boosting teacher quality also help?

Where have all the babies gone? Michigan births lowest since 1944

March 11, 2019 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

In some counties, there are three funerals for every birth. That’s not a trend that bodes well for the state.

Whitmer budget would triple literacy coaches to help Michigan students read

March 5, 2019 | Ron French

The $24 million budget increase for literacy coaches wasn’t the biggest headline out of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal, but it could have a huge impact on Michigan schools, particularly for third grade.

College advocate tapped by Whitmer as education adviser

March 4, 2019 | Ron French

Brandy Johnson, founder and executive director of the Michigan College Access Network will bring a college and career focus to the new administration, and a history of “getting stuff done.”

Gov. Whitmer: Boost Michigan schools by $507 million, with more for neediest students

March 4, 2019 | Ron French, Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan’s governor’s first budget offers a fairly radical change in how the state spends money on public school students, with questions still on where the money would come from.

Whitmer pushes college aid. But success rates vary wildly at Michigan schools

February 27, 2019 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

A new scholarship proposal could get more students into Michigan colleges. But which campus they go to plays a big role in whether they graduate and how much they - and the state - will benefit.

Seven things to know about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s debt-free college plan

February 27, 2019 | Ron French

The governor’s ambitious revamp of college aid could be a game-changer for Michigan, but the state’s poor won’t benefit much. Here’s why.

In Tennessee, a model for Michigan’s plan for debt-free community college

February 27, 2019 | Ron French

If you want to know the impact Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed college aid expansion, look 500 miles south to Tennessee, where a nearly identical program has been up and running since 2014.

More Michigan residents get college degrees, but state still trails diploma race

February 20, 2019 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

More than four in 10 Michigan adults have an associate’s degree or higher, the highest rate on record but still far short of what the state needs.

The real state of Michigan education: Improving outcomes costs money

February 12, 2019 | Ron French

Whitmer campaigned on improving Michigan schools. Education leaders across the state offer suggestions to accomplish that goal.

CEOs, Republicans add voices to Michigan’s child care ‘crisis’

January 25, 2019 | Ron French

Michigan needs workers. Workers need child care. But the cost is out of reach for many Michigan families. Will the weight of CEO’s and, increasingly, Republican lawmakers prompt the state to open its wallet?

Four people, four reasons child care costs are a growing crisis in Michigan

January 25, 2019 | Ron French

Few people are happy with the affordability of child care in Michigan. Bridge profiles a parent, a child care worker, the owner of a child care center, and a CEO whose workers can’t find suitable care.

Michigan cut school funding and school performance plummeted. Coincidence?

January 23, 2019 | Ron French

A new MSU study confirmed what many school leaders have felt: Michigan traded public education support for tax cuts.

Six systems in 7 years and Michigan students still lag. Now comes A to F.

January 17, 2019 | Ron French

Should schools be graded with a letter? A number? How about a color? How about if we told you none of it has done much to help students? Michigan churns through reform while top states stick with one plan.

Car repairs and rent checks: a bold plan to keep Michigan students in college

January 7, 2019 | Ron French

Almost 1-in-4 Michigan adults is a college dropout. A foundation in St. Clair County is turning traditional scholarships on their head, and creating a possible model for the rest of the state.

Michigan’s A-to-F school ratings on ice until attorney general weighs in

January 3, 2019 | Ron French

The Legislature and former Gov. Rick Snyder approved a new accountability system for Michigan schools. But the Michigan Department of Education questions the law’s legality.

Michigan A-to-F school bill gets passing grade in Senate; on to Gov. Rick Snyder

December 18, 2018 | Ron French, Lindsay VanHulle

A controversial bill that will give grades to schools will likely become law, despite concerns about whether it meets federal guidelines.

Michigan education department blasts A to F school system bill

December 18, 2018 | Ron French

State Superintendent Sheila Alles minced few words in a last-ditch effort to kill an A-to-F school grading system pushed by the legislature.

Michigan House passes A-to-F school grades but nixes new commission

December 13, 2018 | Ron French

In what appeared to be a compromise to get votes, a politically appointed commission with broad powers over Michigan schools was downgraded to an “peer review panel.” Bill now goes to Senate.

How divisive is Michigan lame duck? Dems and GOP can’t even agree on puppies

December 5, 2018 | Ron French

A bill working its way through the Legislature would stop local communities from banning the sale of puppies at pet stores – puppies that animal rights groups say sometimes come from puppy mills.

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