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

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.

We read 12 reports on fixing Michigan schools. Here are 4 things we learned

March 21, 2018 | Ron French

Michigan leaders love to write about our failing education system. Changes, though, are proving tougher.

Got 6 minutes? Highlights of a dozen studies on Michigan schools

March 21, 2018 | Ron French

If you were to lay the pages of these voluminous studies end to end, we’d question your life choices. Bridge offers instead this quickie version of the reports’ findings on how best to reform schools.

Time to row in same direction for schools, says Michigan business group

March 21, 2018 | Ron French

Leading states have figured out a way for education, business and political leaders to work together to improve schools. A new report calls for that same cooperation in Michigan

Which Michigan 3rd-graders will flunk reading? The state has no idea.

March 13, 2018 | Ron French

A new state law requires third-graders to repeat the grade if they are more than a year behind in reading. But the state test doesn’t yield that information.

A Betsy DeVos cheat sheet for next ‘60 Minutes’ interview on Michigan schools

March 12, 2018 | Ron French

The U.S. Education Secretary did not appear to know much about how Michigan schools are performing, despite years fighting for pro-charter and school-of-choice policies. Bridge is here to help.

Michigan spent $80 million to improve early reading. Scores went down.

March 6, 2018 | Ron French

Under a new law, in two years thousands of Michigan's third graders will flunk if they are more than a year behind in reading skills if the state can't turn current trends to the positive. How did this happen? 

Scores in one West Michigan school district typify state’s malaise

March 1, 2018 | Ron French

Allegan Public Schools was among dozens of districts that showed little student growth in a Stanford study. Its story is the story of public education across Michigan.  

A Michigan divide? Documentary follows families in a fiery political year

March 1, 2018 | Ron French

As 2017 unfolded, six families from vastly different backgrounds said they sometimes felt like Michiganders didn’t speak the same language on politics. A Bridge documentary goes in search of what they might share.    

Did a Michigan campus narrowly avert a massacre like the Florida shooting?

February 15, 2018 | Ron French, Jim Malewitz

We’ve all seen the horrible scenes from a Florida high school. But similar carnage may have visited Lansing Community College in November. But then a worried friend called police.

No offense, Gov. Snyder, but here’s Michigan’s real ‘State of the State’

January 23, 2018 | Ron French

Candidates for state office will talk about whatever it is they want to talk about. Here are the critical issues they should be addressing, and the facts you need to evaluate their campaigns.

Why Michigan needs newcomers. Told in 5 data maps.

November 30, 2017 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Michigan’s economy would improve if more adults had diplomas. Why our future may depend on immigrants and other transplants.

Are teen prison rapes a violation of civil rights? A Michigan court is about to decide.

November 16, 2017 | Ron French

More than 900 juvenile prisoners have filed suit claiming they were harmed, some of them sexually, while being housed with adult inmates. Their case might never make it to a jury.

Michigan high school counselors to get training in college and career advice

November 8, 2017 | Ron French

A bill expected to be signed today by Gov. Rick Snyder is a small step toward improved access to college ‒ if schools’ understaffed counselors can find time to pass on career advice.

An election divided them. A year later, they meet face to face.

November 7, 2017 | Ron French, Pat Shellenbarger

We’ve followed Michigan residents with diverse political views since the 2016 presidential election. They came together in one room on a recent morning. Here’s what happened.

Trump and anti-Trump Michiganders meet: A photo story

November 7, 2017 | Ron French

Coffee, donuts, laughs and a few tears: a year after a divisive presidential election, voters meet to swap political views amid hopes they can work together on some issues.

Michigan gerrymandering petition on pace for ballot. Will state justices stop it?

October 19, 2017 | Ron French

The 300,000-plus registered voters may not be as important as seven state Supreme Court justices in determining if an independent commission should set political boundaries rather than politicians.

California holds clues to how a redistricting commission could change Michigan

October 19, 2017 | Ron French

More competitive races. More public input. But don’t look for a massive swing in electoral prospects.

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