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

Three ex-governors agree: Michigan should certify election for Joe Biden

Three ex-governors agree: Michigan should certify election for Joe Biden

November 20, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Ron French

Rick Snyder, Jennifer Granholm and John Engler call on state canvassers to put aside politics, unfounded fraud claims and pressure from President Trump and certify Biden’s 150,000 vote victory.

Thousands fled Michigan schools in fall. Will COVID home-schoolers come back?

Thousands fled Michigan schools in fall. Will COVID home-schoolers come back?

November 18, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan schools are uncertain how many students who’ve fled public schools during the pandemic will return when there is a vaccine.

Michigan to close high schools, colleges, bars for 3 weeks as COVID spikes

Michigan to close high schools, colleges, bars for 3 weeks as COVID spikes

November 15, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Robin Erb, Ron French

A surge in the coronavirus in Michigan means another round of restrictions, including efforts to limit family gatherings for Thanksgiving.

Upper Peninsula students can’t exit COVID quarantine for football playoffs

Upper Peninsula students can’t exit COVID quarantine for football playoffs

November 13, 2020 | Ron French

Pickford is the reigning Division 1 eight-man football state champ, but it couldn’t beat COVID-19. School board members criticized for putting sports before student safety.

With teachers out from COVID, Michigan schools can’t keep classes open

With teachers out from COVID, Michigan schools can’t keep classes open

November 13, 2020 | Ron French

With coronavirus cases surging across Michigan, schools are facing not only a health crisis, but a staffing crisis: There aren’t enough substitute teachers to replace classroom teachers who are infected or quarantined.

With COVID rising, Detroit closes classrooms; other districts may follow

With COVID rising, Detroit closes classrooms; other districts may follow

November 12, 2020 | Ron French

Detroit had fought to keep its school buildings open, but the pandemic has caught up with the state’s largest district and its 51,000 students.

Michigan deeply divided over race, education, geography and news feeds

Michigan deeply divided over race, education, geography and news feeds

November 9, 2020 | Ron French, Madeline Halpert, Mike Wilkinson

Divisions in our state go beyond who we supported for president. Voters say we are increasingly separated by political tribes, what we see on social media and what lessons we took from police protests.

COVID spurs University of Michigan to close dorms, ask students to stay home

COVID spurs University of Michigan to close dorms, ask students to stay home

November 6, 2020 | Ron French

To try to head off another surge of coronavirus cases, U-M is encouraging students to stay in their hometowns next semester. The request comes as cases are skyrocketing in Michigan and nationwide.

Classroom or home? Michigan schools, families still struggle to choose

Classroom or home? Michigan schools, families still struggle to choose

November 2, 2020 | Ron French

Some Michigan schools are bringing students back to classrooms, while others are preparing for possibly going virtual. No decision is easy — or permanent — during a pandemic.

COVID outbreaks slowing at Michigan K-12 schools, dropping at colleges

COVID outbreaks slowing at Michigan K-12 schools, dropping at colleges

October 26, 2020 | Ron French

There are outbreaks in 99 Michigan school buildings, and more than 4,400 cases on college campuses. Still, there were signs the spread was slowing or receding in the past week.

Michigan Christian school shut over COVID, files ‘religious liberty’ suit

Michigan Christian school shut over COVID, files ‘religious liberty’ suit

October 23, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville says health rules infringe on its religious liberties and free speech. Health officials say two teachers tested positive for COVID-19 and the school won’t cooperate with contact tracers.

Despite rise in COVID, Michigan State to offer more classes, dorm housing

Despite rise in COVID, Michigan State to offer more classes, dorm housing

October 22, 2020 | Ron French

Saying coronavirus cases are the result of off-campus partying rather than classroom interaction, MSU is moving aggressively to increase in-person classes and on-campus housing beginning in January.

West Michigan schools to community: Mask up for COVID or we close down

West Michigan schools to community: Mask up for COVID or we close down

October 22, 2020 | Ron French

In an unusually blunt letter expressing the limits of their ability to control COVID-19 spread, 46 school superintendents pleaded with their communities to mask-up to help keep schools open.

As COVID spreads, University of Michigan’s 31,000 undergrads ordered to stay home

As COVID spreads, University of Michigan’s 31,000 undergrads ordered to stay home

October 20, 2020 | Ron French

In issuing the order, which runs until Election Day, local health and university officials are trying to rein in student social gatherings in an effort to flatten a spike in coronavirus cases. But, hey, football games will go on.

Why it still matters whether Michigan K-12 students contract COVID

Why it still matters whether Michigan K-12 students contract COVID

October 20, 2020 | Ron French

Very few young people infected by COVID-19 become seriously ill. But public health experts say the transmission of the virus among healthy students can endanger more vulnerable Michiganders.

COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools rise 25 percent in a week

COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools rise 25 percent in a week

October 19, 2020 | Ron French

There are outbreaks in 84 Michigan schools in 31 counties, and college cases top 5,000, says a state report released Monday.

Michigan college freshman enrollment drops amid COVID. Will they return?

Michigan college freshman enrollment drops amid COVID. Will they return?

October 19, 2020 | Ron French

Michigan’s public universities and community colleges report thousands fewer college freshmen, echoing national trends. Studies show that many students who do not go directly to college never enroll.

Cheer the MSU Spartans! At home. Preferably alone. Welcome to COVID game day

Cheer the MSU Spartans! At home. Preferably alone. Welcome to COVID game day

October 14, 2020 | Ron French

College football is back. Game Day celebrations, not so much. Michigan State University’s president is discouraging fans from gathering to watch the opening game.

Coronavirus cases surpass 5,000 in Michigan schools, colleges

Coronavirus cases surpass 5,000 in Michigan schools, colleges

October 12, 2020 | Ron French

Cases on college campuses continue to rise, but the good news is that K-12 schools continue to have few COVID-19 infections. Parents also can now get faster disclosure of coronavirus cases in their local schools.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s year: Nooses, beheadings and shouts of tyranny

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s year: Nooses, beheadings and shouts of tyranny

October 8, 2020 | Ron French

The Michigan governor faced criticism for her emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic. But Whitmer also endured seven months of ominous threats, intimidation and accusations that culminated in an alleged plot to kidnap her.

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