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

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.

Two days in school, three at home? That’s the plan in one Michigan district.

Two days in school, three at home? That’s the plan in one Michigan district.

May 19, 2020 | Ron French

With continued coronavirus fears, West Bloomfield Public Schools will bring most kids into classrooms only two days a week this fall. Will other school districts follow suit?

Shirkey: Don’t cut Michigan schools budget despite $1.2 billion shortfall

Shirkey: Don’t cut Michigan schools budget despite $1.2 billion shortfall

May 18, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan’s K-12 schools face a $1.2 billion shortfall for the school year ending in June. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he will push the feds to fill the gap. But next year’s school budget is in far greater danger. 

Western Michigan University plans fall campus return amid coronavirus

Western Michigan University plans fall campus return amid coronavirus

May 15, 2020 | Ron French

Western Michigan in Kalamazoo intends to reopen its campus and classrooms to students for the fall semester, assuming public health directives related to the coronavirus pandemic allow it.

Michigan settles Detroit schools lawsuit, acknowledges a right to literacy

Michigan settles Detroit schools lawsuit, acknowledges a right to literacy

May 14, 2020 | Ron French

Detroit students had sued the state, saying it had failed to provide a basic level of education that they argued was a basic right. After a federal appeals court agreed with the students, Whitmer and the plaintiffs have reached an agreement.

No salad bars but face masks galore. Welcome to college amid coronavirus

No salad bars but face masks galore. Welcome to college amid coronavirus

May 13, 2020 | Ron French

Eastern Michigan University and Saginaw Valley State University join rush to bring students back in fall amid coronavirus. Most Michigan colleges that have announced plans for September are choosing to return to face-to-face classes.

Ferris State latest in Michigan to return students in fall amid coronavirus

Ferris State latest in Michigan to return students in fall amid coronavirus

May 12, 2020 | Ron French

The majority of colleges in Michigan that have announced plans for the fall semester are choosing to return to face-to-face classes, presenting challenges for schools trying to keep students safe.

GOP leader: Up to 25 percent cuts to Michigan schools from coronavirus

GOP leader: Up to 25 percent cuts to Michigan schools from coronavirus

May 11, 2020 | Ron French

The Senate education committee chair said drastic cuts of $2,000 per student may be unavoidable in the fall following huge tax revenue losses from the pandemic. School officials cite the need for more services, not fewer.

Central Michigan University brings students back to campus for fall despite coronavirus

Central Michigan University brings students back to campus for fall despite coronavirus

May 11, 2020 | Ron French

Students may sit farther apart, and residence hall suites will be less crowded, but CMU’s campus will be teeming with students again in September.

Tribal casinos may be headed for clash with Whitmer, Nessel over reopening

Tribal casinos may be headed for clash with Whitmer, Nessel over reopening

May 7, 2020 | Meghanlata Gupta, Ron French

At least six U.P. casinos may reopen before the end of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order closing bars, dine-in restaurants and casinos. They can do that. They’re sovereign nations.

With few coronavirus cases, Michigan U.P. colleges plan in-person classes

With few coronavirus cases, Michigan U.P. colleges plan in-person classes

May 5, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State University plan to return to in-person classes this fall, joining Northern Michigan University that had announced the same decision earlier. That’s an easier call in the Upper Peninsula, where there are currently few COVID-19 cases

Grand Valley State to return students to campus in fall during coronavirus

Grand Valley State to return students to campus in fall during coronavirus

May 2, 2020 | Ron French

Grand Valley State University plans to resume traditional, in-person classes in September. So far, Michigan colleges that have made decisions about the fall semester run the gamut from fully online to back-to-normal.

Lansing Community College goes mostly online for fall amid coronavirus

Lansing Community College goes mostly online for fall amid coronavirus

May 1, 2020 | Ron French

The 21,000-student Lansing Community College will move most of its classes online for the fall semester, due to continuing fears about the coronavirus pandemic. Is the school’s plan a precursor to similar announcements on other campuses?

Northern Michigan University: Campus open in fall despite coronavirus fears

Northern Michigan University: Campus open in fall despite coronavirus fears

May 1, 2020 | Ron French

The Upper Peninsula public university is the first Michigan college to announce it is going forward with in-person classes in September. Most schools have put off making a decision for now. 

Michigan poll: Coronavirus break hurts kids, but don’t order more school

Michigan poll: Coronavirus break hurts kids, but don’t order more school

April 29, 2020 | Ron French

A poll of Michigan K-12 families finds mixed reviews of remote learning and concern about academics. But a plurality would still prefer a normal school year in fall, rather than a longer year or forced summer school. 

Trump urges schools to reopen during coronavirus. Michigan parents say no.

Trump urges schools to reopen during coronavirus. Michigan parents say no.

April 28, 2020 | Ron French

A recent poll of Michigan families with K-12 students shows overwhelming, bipartisan support for keeping classrooms closed for the rest of this school year.

First Michigan college unveils fall plan: masks, tests, some campus classes

First Michigan college unveils fall plan: masks, tests, some campus classes

April 24, 2020 | Ron French

Oakland University becomes the first in Michigan to detail what college during coronavirus will look like. Students will meet online and come to campus in masks. Sports will continue. But not before fans. 

Coronavirus guts Michigan college budgets. And it’s going to get worse

Coronavirus guts Michigan college budgets. And it’s going to get worse

April 24, 2020 | Ron French

Already bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars because of coronavirus shutdowns, Michigan college and university officials try to plan a future with ‘more questions than answers.’

Education is a fundamental right, appeals court rules in Detroit case

Education is a fundamental right, appeals court rules in Detroit case

April 23, 2020 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

A group of Detroit students asked: Is there a constitutional right to literacy? A United States appeals court says yes.

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