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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 517-657-3501.
February 27, 2019 | Ron French
If you want to know the impact Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed college aid expansion, look 500 miles south to Tennessee, where a nearly identical program has been up and running since 2014.
More than four in 10 Michigan adults have an associate’s degree or higher, the highest rate on record but still far short of what the state needs.
February 12, 2019 | Ron French
Whitmer campaigned on improving Michigan schools. Education leaders across the state offer suggestions to accomplish that goal.
January 25, 2019 | Ron French
Michigan needs workers. Workers need child care. But the cost is out of reach for many Michigan families. Will the weight of CEO’s and, increasingly, Republican lawmakers prompt the state to open its wallet?
January 25, 2019 | Ron French
Few people are happy with the affordability of child care in Michigan. Bridge profiles a parent, a child care worker, the owner of a child care center, and a CEO whose workers can’t find suitable care.
January 23, 2019 | Ron French
A new MSU study confirmed what many school leaders have felt: Michigan traded public education support for tax cuts.
January 17, 2019 | Ron French
Should schools be graded with a letter? A number? How about a color? How about if we told you none of it has done much to help students? Michigan churns through reform while top states stick with one plan.
January 7, 2019 | Ron French
Almost 1-in-4 Michigan adults is a college dropout. A foundation in St. Clair County is turning traditional scholarships on their head, and creating a possible model for the rest of the state.
January 3, 2019 | Ron French
The Legislature and former Gov. Rick Snyder approved a new accountability system for Michigan schools. But the Michigan Department of Education questions the law’s legality.
A controversial bill that will give grades to schools will likely become law, despite concerns about whether it meets federal guidelines.
December 18, 2018 | Ron French
State Superintendent Sheila Alles minced few words in a last-ditch effort to kill an A-to-F school grading system pushed by the legislature.
December 13, 2018 | Ron French
In what appeared to be a compromise to get votes, a politically appointed commission with broad powers over Michigan schools was downgraded to an “peer review panel.” Bill now goes to Senate.
December 5, 2018 | Ron French
A bill working its way through the Legislature would stop local communities from banning the sale of puppies at pet stores – puppies that animal rights groups say sometimes come from puppy mills.
December 4, 2018 | Ron French
The legislation would create a new education commission that Gov. Snyder would largely fill as he exits office, and before Democrats take over the governor’s office and state board of education
November 29, 2018 | Ron French
Would hanging a scarlet letter on a struggling school improve learning? Michigan might find out, if a bill now being considered in the Legislature passes.
November 15, 2018 | Ron French
Graduating less than half your students in six years doesn’t seem worth bragging about. Until you see the trend line. WSU just won a national award for improving grad rates, particularly for black students.
Welcome, legalized pot. So long, gerrymandering. Democrats and women score big victories, as ballot measures all pass. Republicans hold onto Legislature, promising divided government.
November 3, 2018 | Ron French
The University of Michigan’s Alex Halderman is one of the nation’s leading experts on election security. In a Bridge Q-and-A, he says Michigan’s systems have improved, but there’s more work to do.
October 31, 2018 | Ron French
Michigan has struggled for years to get low-income students to enroll. A program offering free tuition to Michigan students from families earning under $65,000 a year may have done the trick.
October 29, 2018 | Ron French
Campuses are working overtime to get students to vote in higher numbers than in past elections. That shouldn’t be hard – only one in seven voted in the last midterm at Michigan State and the University of Michigan.