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 rfrench@bridgemi.com, or call him at 517-214-3636.

Articles

Next hurdle for Michigan redistricting backers: ballot language

August 1, 2018 | Ron French

The description of a proposal can be no longer than 100 words on November’s ballot. Those words can clarify, confuse, anger or motivate voters. The battle over Michigan’s redistricting proposal is about to start.

Four takeaways from Michigan Supreme Court upholding redistricting ballot proposal

July 31, 2018 | Ron French

A high-priced battle and a wedge issue for governor. What did the Supreme Court ruling change?

In Jackson, school choice bring new reality: students as fickle customers

July 31, 2018 | Ron French

Jackson loses 40 percent of school-age children to other districts and charters. How districts respond illustrates the free-market educational system for Michigan families, and the budgetary challenges districts face.

Where they stand: Michigan candidates for governor on K-12 education

July 26, 2018 | Ron French

Perhaps no issue is as important to Michigan’s future as improving the state’s schools and increasing the number of post-secondary graduates. Here’s how the candidates answered questions from Bridge.

Where they stand: Michigan governor candidates on college affordability

July 26, 2018 | Ron French

Some Michigan governor candidates want to make college free, others want to emphasize career tech. Here’s what the candidates facing primary challenges are saying about the rising cost of college.

Poll: Michigan Dems more alarmed about nation, more excited to vote in November

July 24, 2018 | Ron French

A survey of Michigan residents also suggests that large majorities of voters take a dim view of money in politics and want want to make it easier for people to vote.

Six more meetings set on controversial Michigan social studies standards

July 23, 2018 | Ron French

Public outcry over proposed changes to the standards, including deletion of “democratic” from “Core democratic values” at the request of a Republican legislator, has delayed approval.

California’s redistricting commission has some free advice for Michigan

July 16, 2018 | Ron French

California has had a citizen redistricting commission since 2008 similar to the one proposed in Michigan. One lesson from the Left Coast: be prepared for lawsuits.

Why rural Michigan teens are skipping out on college. It's not grades

July 12, 2018 | Ron French

If Michigan is going to deepen its talent pool, it needs to figure out how to get more rural high school grads onto campuses, and how to keep them there.

To get first-generation students to college: Could the answer be…a bus?

July 12, 2018 | Ron French

While other universities struggle to get rural and first-generation students to apply, Central Michigan University came up with a surprisingly simple solution: foot the bill to bring busloads for campus visits.

How a California college program for inmates pays returns for taxpayers

July 10, 2018 | Ron French

Why should convicted killers get free college? It’s a good question, with a surprisingly easy answer

Public outcry delays Michigan social studies standards

June 29, 2018 | Ron French

Proposed changes in what’s taught as history in classrooms from kindergarten through high school are causing an uproar. The state is extending public hearings through September.

Ignore the sticker price at Michigan universities. Here’s the real cost.

June 28, 2018 | Ron French, Mike Wilkinson

Bridge shows the surprising differences between the published price and the real cost of attending Michigan’s 15 public universities. Students from middle-class and low-income families take note.

Groups join hands to fix Michigan schools. Will it make a difference?

June 21, 2018 | Ron French

Leaders from education, business, unions and philanthropy announced Wednesday that they will huddle to improve the state’s lagging public schools.

Crowds growing to protest changes to Michigan social studies standards

June 20, 2018 | Ron French

Public meetings that attracted just a few folks have grown bigger and louder since Bridge revealed conservative changes to Michigan K-12 social studies standards.

Michigan school board Dems: We will block conservative social studies changes

June 14, 2018 | Ron French

References to gay rights, Roe v. Wade and climate change have been stripped from state K-12 social studies standards. Democrats on the state school board have the votes to block the changes, and vow to do so

Michigan’s top teacher on Betsy DeVos, school shootings and testing

June 13, 2018 | Ron French

Luke Wilcox isn’t shy about sharing his opinions, with Bridge Magazine or the U.S. Secretary of Education

What Michigan schools can learn from craft beer

June 13, 2018 | Ron French

To turn around Michigan schools, stop trying to produce Budweiser, and brew more Oberon. That’s the TED Talk message (without the actual alcohol) of Michigan’s Teacher of the Year.

History gets a conservative twist in Michigan social studies standards

June 12, 2018 | Ron French, Lindsay VanHulle

Abortion, climate change and gay rights are gone from proposed new social studies standards. State Sen. Patrick Colbeck and conservative groups gained influence on what will taught in Michigan classrooms.

Truth Squad | Bill Schuette says Michigan is ‘last’ in third-grade reading

June 7, 2018 | Ron French

Few would argue with Schuette’s point that Michigan’s public schools must vastly improve. We’re struggling, but are we the worst?

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