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

GOP: Use $1.3 billion in fed money to bail out Michigan schools amid COVID

GOP: Use $1.3 billion in fed money to bail out Michigan schools amid COVID

June 23, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan Republicans propose shipping the majority of the state’s remaining CARES Act funds to schools, and requiring schools to offer in-person education for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Students return to University of Michigan in fall. Football? Ask us later.

Students return to University of Michigan in fall. Football? Ask us later.

June 22, 2020 | Ron French

Students will return to campus in Ann Arbor, and at least some classes will be held in-person. But expect more online courses, fewer seats in dining halls, and a lot of face masks. Football? Ask later.

What we know about Michigan college plans in fall amid coronavirus

What we know about Michigan college plans in fall amid coronavirus

June 22, 2020 | Ron French

The coronavirus has left college officials with hard choices about the fall semester — bring students back, continue remote learning, or find a hybrid approach. Bridge will track plans as they are announced.

With ‘no way’ to stay safe, coronavirus drives Michigan teacher to quit

With ‘no way’ to stay safe, coronavirus drives Michigan teacher to quit

June 17, 2020 | Ron French

Liza McArdle taught foreign languages for 27 years. Now, she’s saying adios to teaching, saying she fears safety precautions won’t be enough to protect her from catching potentially deadly COVID-19 at Huron High School.

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

June 17, 2020 | Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that schools will reopen in September. But what those classrooms will look like will vary greatly among school districts.

Michigan colleges vow to reopen in fall. Experts say read the fine print.

Michigan colleges vow to reopen in fall. Experts say read the fine print.

June 10, 2020 | Ron French

Many colleges and universities are planning for students to return to campus in the fall. But there are caveats due to the unpredictability of COVID-19. And on campus or off, college life promises to be much different. 

No band, buses or sports? Budget cuts could cripple Michigan schools

No band, buses or sports? Budget cuts could cripple Michigan schools

June 4, 2020 | Ron French

School leaders across the state are pleading for federal funding to ease otherwise crippling budget cuts caused by coronavirus revenue shortfalls.

Nearly a third of Michigan educators mull quitting because of coronavirus

Nearly a third of Michigan educators mull quitting because of coronavirus

June 4, 2020 | Ron French

A survey of Michigan educators reveals that thousands may flee schools because of the pandemic, putting further strain on a school system facing budget cuts and uncertain public health restraints.

MSU’s likely fall plan: face masks, takeout food and Saturday classes

MSU’s likely fall plan: face masks, takeout food and Saturday classes

June 3, 2020 | Ron French

College will be a far different experience for students in East Lansing in September, as the school works to keep students and staff safe from the coronavirus pandemic.

MSU football may return amid coronavirus but with fewer fans and face masks

MSU football may return amid coronavirus but with fewer fans and face masks

June 2, 2020 | Ron French

MSU President Samuel Stanley suggests college football could return safely, but with lots of testing, only 20 percent of Spartan Stadium filled and fans in face masks. Welcome to COVID college football.

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.

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