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, or call him at 517-214-3636.


6 things we learned (and 3 things we didn’t) from Proposal 1 debacle

May 7, 2015 | Ron French

Legislators can’t write ballot proposals. And voters don’t read newspaper endorsements. Those are just two reasons why Proposal 1 failed.

Why does U-M accept so few low-income students?

May 5, 2015 | Ron French

A girl, a college president, and the struggle to increase income diversity on campus.

Is state’s defense of prison rape allegations another $100 million gamble?

April 16, 2015 | Ron French

Critics question the state’s aggressive defense of a lawsuit by young inmates who say prison officials failed to protect them from sexual assaults. An earlier suit by women inmates cost the state $100 million, far more than taxpayers would have paid had the state settled the case earlier.

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

April 16, 2015 | Ron French

A program meant to help young, nonviolent offenders get back on track is instead sending more to prison, where they say sexual assault is rampant.

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

March 26, 2015 | Ron French

From ACT prep to private tutors and advisors, middle- and high-income students are groomed to follow their dreams. For bright low-income students, the first obstacle is learning where to start.

Putting a college advisor in every Michigan high school

March 26, 2015 | Ron French

Getting low-income students to think about two- and four-year colleges is the goal of a program that can lift young people from poverty and boost the state’s economy.

March Gradness: NCAA brackets built on victories in the classroom, not the court

March 17, 2015 | Ron French

Grading Michigan State University and the other NCAA tournament teams on the academic factors that matter to average (much shorter) students.

College costs have doubled, even after inflation, and other frightening facts (Chapter 1)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

Think you can still pay for college delivering pizza? Think again. Bridge presents 6 realities facing today’s college student.

The crazy cost of college, a cultural timeline (Chapter 2)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

Hemlines rise and fall, but tuition just goes up.

Four reasons why Michigan college prices have skyrocketed (Chapter 3)

February 24, 2015 | Ron French

The state bears blame for the high cost of higher education, but students aren’t blameless, either.

It’s all about family for one State Champ

February 3, 2015 | Ron French

Ashley Community Schools conquers poverty, small enrollment and other rural challenges to become an academic overachiever

‘Why is THAT school an Academic State Champ?’

February 3, 2015 | Ron French

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers about how Bridge determines district and school rankings

A Great Start to preschool expansion

January 27, 2015 | Ron French

21,000 more four-year-olds are benefitting from free, high-quality preschool in in just two years thanks to extra state funding

How one Michigan community is benefiting from preschool expansion

January 27, 2015 | Ron French

Tripling preschool slots, and still a waiting list in Vicksburg

Michigan’s future teachers flunking test of ‘basic’ content

January 20, 2015 | Ron French

Fewer than 1-in-3 aspiring teachers are passing a new certification exam that tests math, reading and writing skills. Proponents of the test say its raises the bar for the profession; but teaching colleges call the test confusing.

Low-income students seeing huge cost hikes at some Michigan universities

January 6, 2015 | Ron French

Michigan’s most vulnerable students are bearing the brunt of college cost hikes. That’s bad for them ‒ and the state.

College calculator: Don’t believe college sticker prices

January 6, 2015 | Ron French

The net cost for students at Michigan’s public universities can be less than half of sticker price, depending on family income. Use Bridge’s college calculator to determine how much you would pay at the state’s 15 public universities.

Special education rates vary wildly by school district, race, gender and income

December 16, 2014 | Ron French

A Bridge Magazine- Michigan Radio investigation suggests that early education interventions could help many struggling students avoid a special ed designation. See our interactive database showing special education rates in your school district.

Picking a college? How about 10?

December 9, 2014 | Ron French

Michigan universities are buried under an electronic avalanche of applications this month, as high school seniors apply to three, four, maybe a dozen schools.

Training school counselors to give college advice

December 2, 2014 | Ron French

Michigan does not require school counselors to receive training on giving college advice to students.<br />
A bill now in the legislature would require such training for counselors entering the field. But with all the focus on road funding, will lawmakers get to it? </p>