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

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.

Nervous Michigan colleges to high school seniors: Call me, maybe

Nervous Michigan colleges to high school seniors: Call me, maybe

April 22, 2020 | Ron French

The coronavirus pandemic is causing jitters among incoming college students and the colleges themselves. So 40 Michigan public and private colleges are offering their admissions officers’ phone numbers.

Michigan colleges don’t know if students will return to campus this fall

Michigan colleges don’t know if students will return to campus this fall

April 20, 2020 | Ron French

Already bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars because of coronavirus shutdowns, Michigan college and university officials are huddling on scenarios for a fall semester expected to be like none in the past.

Bridge Capitol reporter Riley Beggin named Young Journalist of the Year

Bridge Capitol reporter Riley Beggin named Young Journalist of the Year

April 16, 2020 | Ron French

In her second year as a full-time professional journalist, Beggin snags a major award from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

If work doesn’t count, will Michigan students bother during coronavirus?

If work doesn’t count, will Michigan students bother during coronavirus?

April 13, 2020 | Ron French

The push to assemble plans for remote learning is remarkable, but also shines light on disparities between affluent school districts (think online learning) and lower-income schools (homework packets).

In rural Michigan, teacher mourns coronavirus loss not counted in hospitals

In rural Michigan, teacher mourns coronavirus loss not counted in hospitals

April 12, 2020 | Ron French

The learning deficit that a Mayville third-grade teacher fears from her “kiddos” being out of classrooms for nearly six months is playing out across the state.

Half of Michigan school children will get coronavirus food cash

Half of Michigan school children will get coronavirus food cash

April 10, 2020 | Ron French

All families with K-12 students eligible for free or reduced lunch will receive EBT cards that can be used for groceries — no sign-up for the cards required. Meanwhile, schools are still providing meals, too.

Detroit man survives 18 days on ventilator. ‘Can I come home now?’

Detroit man survives 18 days on ventilator. ‘Can I come home now?’

April 9, 2020 | Ron French

Anthony Moses was Beaumont Health in Farmington Hills’ first coronavirus patient, and when he was forced on a ventilator his prognosis looked dim. His survival is a gift to his family, but also to weary doctors who have seen enough of death.

RV owners, a Michigan nurse, and the coronavirus that brought them together

RV owners, a Michigan nurse, and the coronavirus that brought them together

April 6, 2020 | Ron French

She’s caring for those with coronavirus. They were looking for a way to pitch in. The pandemic is bringing out the best in Michiganders.

With bedtime stories and growing unease, a Michigan elementary confronts coronavirus

With bedtime stories and growing unease, a Michigan elementary confronts coronavirus

April 2, 2020 | Ron French

Uncomfortable being separated from their students for three weeks, Michigan educators are now scrambling to teach remotely for the rest of the school year. It won’t be easy.

What Michigan’s coronavirus school closure means for you

What Michigan’s coronavirus school closure means for you

April 2, 2020 | Ron French

Seniors will graduate, others will move up a grade, and teachers get paid. But if you’ve bought a prom dress, you’re probably out of luck.

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