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

Coronavirus layoffs cascade across Michigan. ‘What will I do?’ workers ask

Coronavirus layoffs cascade across Michigan. ‘What will I do?’ workers ask

March 17, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Ron French

One day after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shuts down restaurants and bars, workers fear the worst and wonder what bill to skip. One compares it to Russian roulette. Another stocks up on ramen and braces for long haul. 

Michigan standardized tests may be put on ice this year due to coronavirus

Michigan standardized tests may be put on ice this year due to coronavirus

March 17, 2020 | Ron French

State education leaders have asked for a waiver to allow Michigan schools to ditch federally mandated testing this spring, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The sobering reason Michigan day care centers are not yet shut down

The sobering reason Michigan day care centers are not yet shut down

March 16, 2020 | Ron French

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has closed schools, gyms, theaters and bars. Why not child care centers? The reason: So that medical workers and first responders who need to stay on the job have child care.

Coronavirus sends Michigan families scrambling for child care. And more wine.

Coronavirus sends Michigan families scrambling for child care. And more wine.

March 15, 2020 | Ron French

Monday marks the beginning of a three-week school closure in Michigan because of the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented crisis has parents searching for nannies, taking kids to work and throwing away rules on screen time.

Questions about Michigan coronavirus school closings? We have (some) answers

Questions about Michigan coronavirus school closings? We have (some) answers

March 15, 2020 | Ron French

Yes, free lunches are available from a lot of Michigan schools even during the break. No, your child won’t fall behind in class work if they don’t have access to high-speed Internet at home. Will the school year be extended? There are no plans — yet.

Coronavirus closed Michigan schools for 3 weeks. CDC says that's not long enough

Coronavirus closed Michigan schools for 3 weeks. CDC says that's not long enough

March 13, 2020 | Ron French

Proactively closing schools might help, but the three weeks that Michigan schools will be shut down may not be long enough to be effective.

Whitmer closes all Michigan schools for three weeks due to coronavirus

Whitmer closes all Michigan schools for three weeks due to coronavirus

March 13, 2020 | Ron French

Faced with a growing health crisis, the Michigan governor ordered all public schools closed beginning Monday

Washtenaw school districts first in Michigan to close due to coronavirus

Washtenaw school districts first in Michigan to close due to coronavirus

March 12, 2020 | Ron French

Seven districts in Washtenaw County are moving to online-only learning beginning Monday, March 16. Districts around the state are wrestling with the pros and cons of closing as Ohio announced it was shutting its public schools.

Coronavirus fears shutter Michigan university classrooms

Coronavirus fears shutter Michigan university classrooms

March 11, 2020 | Ron French

The state's public universities have told students not to attend classes in person as schools scramble to convert to virtual learning. Some students were told to go home, others are staying on campus.

These Michigan colleges shut down because of coronavirus concerns

These Michigan colleges shut down because of coronavirus concerns

March 11, 2020 | Ron French

Universities across the state stop holding in-person classes, as of Wednesday. Others will move online after spring break.

 

Michigan schools scramble to plan for a potential coronavirus outbreak

Michigan schools scramble to plan for a potential coronavirus outbreak

February 27, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

Would schools close for weeks at a time? Would lessons be online? What if a student travels overseas? Michigan districts are creating protocols on the fly to address a possible outbreak.

Kettering University president: College is ‘increasingly not relevant’

Kettering University president: College is ‘increasingly not relevant’

February 19, 2020 | Ron French

Robert McMahan says universities must change, or companies are going to stop buying what they’re selling. Kettering graduates produce the highest return on financial investment of any Michigan university.

 

Frustrated by teacher shortages, Michigan educators offer their solutions

Frustrated by teacher shortages, Michigan educators offer their solutions

February 17, 2020 | Ron French

Want to solve Michigan’s teacher shortage? A new report skips policymakers and asks the state’s teachers what they would do. More class support and financial incentives to new teachers would help, they say.

Free college sounds great. But Dems’ higher-ed plans draw scrutiny in Michigan.

Free college sounds great. But Dems’ higher-ed plans draw scrutiny in Michigan.

February 11, 2020 | Ron French

From zero tuition to student loan bailouts, Democrats campaigning in Michigan’s March 10 primary are proposing big changes to higher education. Some question the feasibility of the proposals.

Preschoolers, older college students win in Whitmer education budget

Preschoolers, older college students win in Whitmer education budget

February 6, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan’s governor proposes a big move toward universal pre-K and free training and college for adults in a budget that includes the biggest school aid increase in 20 years. State university funding? Meh.

Access to career-tech in Michigan varies by ZIP code. That’s a problem.

Access to career-tech in Michigan varies by ZIP code. That’s a problem.

February 5, 2020 | Ron French

Low-income and minority students have less access to career-tech programs in high school than other students, according to a new study.

Michigan schools revolt: We won’t flunk struggling third-grade readers

Michigan schools revolt: We won’t flunk struggling third-grade readers

January 31, 2020 | Ron French

In what amounts to a mutiny against Michigan’s “read-or-flunk” law, school districts around the state tell Bridge they don’t plan to make students repeat third grade because of poor reading scores.

Gov. Whitmer launching effort to undercut Michigan’s third-grade reading law

Gov. Whitmer launching effort to undercut Michigan’s third-grade reading law

January 29, 2020 | Ron French

An estimated 5,000 students could be flagged to repeat third grade because of low reading scores. In her State of the State address, Whitmer will unveil a plan designed to help parents get around the Republican-backed law.

Students drinking less at MSU and U-M, but still more than national average

Students drinking less at MSU and U-M, but still more than national average

January 28, 2020 | Ron French

Fewer college students are binge drinking at Michigan’s two Big Ten universities. One possible reason: campaigns to correct students’ “Animal House” perceptions of their school’s drinking culture.

If you drink at college, follow these tips to avoid serious danger

If you drink at college, follow these tips to avoid serious danger

January 28, 2020 | Ron French

Binge drinking is declining nationally as awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking increases.

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