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

A final meeting, and Michigan’s social studies standards head for a rewrite

September 21, 2018 | Ron French

No gay rights. No Roe v. Wade. No Climate Change. That could change, after the Michigan Department of Education was inundated with complaints about social studies revisions for K-12 students.

Truth Squad: Republicans attack Dana Nessel for firm’s defense on sex crimes

September 21, 2018 | Ron French

A TV ad blasts the Democratic attorney general candidate for her former law firm’s defense of accused child sex offenders, and ties her to Weinstein, Cosby and Nassar for good measure.

Muskegon kids struggle to read. Their superintendent had the same problem.

September 17, 2018 | Ron French

Muskegon Superintendent Justin Jennings read at a third-grade level when he entered college. So he knows the challenges schools face as they prepare for Michigan’s third-grade “read or flunk” law.

Truth Squad | Bill Schuette goes low, accusing Whitmer of terror sympathy

September 12, 2018 | Ron French, Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Why talk about Michigan potholes when you can attack your opponent about Middle East terrorism? Bill Schuette goes for the jugular, and earns a misleading rating from Truth Squad

Michigan is failing its students, as state test scores keep tanking

August 29, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson, Chastity Pratt Dawsey

M-STEP results show 1-in-3 third-graders are not proficient in reading. The bad news extends across grades and subjects, impacting white, black and Hispanic students. What should state do now?

Database: Check out your Michigan school and district M-STEP scores

August 29, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French, Chastity Pratt Dawsey

See how students in your schools performed in reading language arts, math and other subjects this past school year

Child care for this baby costs more than the University of Michigan

August 28, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

Politicians have plenty to say about college costs. Yet child care expenses can have a bigger impact for many families and businesses. And Michigan has done little to help middle-and-low-income parents.

Yes, you can pay rural Michigan college grads to come home

August 23, 2018 | Ron French

Tired of seeing their best and brightest head to college never to return, three Michigan counties offer to pay up to $15,000 of student debt for grads who come back for jobs. Counties in other states are taking notice.

Next hurdle for Michigan redistricting backers: ballot language

August 1, 2018 | Ron French

The description of a proposal can be no longer than 100 words on November’s ballot. Those words can clarify, confuse, anger or motivate voters. The battle over Michigan’s redistricting proposal is about to start.

Four takeaways from Michigan Supreme Court upholding redistricting ballot proposal

July 31, 2018 | Ron French

A high-priced battle and a wedge issue for governor. What did the Supreme Court ruling change?

In Jackson, school choice bring new reality: students as fickle customers

July 31, 2018 | Ron French

Jackson loses 40 percent of school-age children to other districts and charters. How districts respond illustrates the free-market educational system for Michigan families, and the budgetary challenges districts face.

Where they stand: Michigan candidates for governor on K-12 education

July 26, 2018 | Ron French

Perhaps no issue is as important to Michigan’s future as improving the state’s schools and increasing the number of post-secondary graduates. Here’s how the candidates answered questions from Bridge.

Where they stand: Michigan governor candidates on college affordability

July 26, 2018 | Ron French

Some Michigan governor candidates want to make college free, others want to emphasize career tech. Here’s what the candidates facing primary challenges are saying about the rising cost of college.

Poll: Michigan Dems more alarmed about nation, more excited to vote in November

July 24, 2018 | Ron French

A survey of Michigan residents also suggests that large majorities of voters take a dim view of money in politics and want want to make it easier for people to vote.

Six more meetings set on controversial Michigan social studies standards

July 23, 2018 | Ron French

Public outcry over proposed changes to the standards, including deletion of “democratic” from “Core democratic values” at the request of a Republican legislator, has delayed approval.

California’s redistricting commission has some free advice for Michigan

July 16, 2018 | Ron French

California has had a citizen redistricting commission since 2008 similar to the one proposed in Michigan. One lesson from the Left Coast: be prepared for lawsuits.

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.

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