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.
January 27, 2020 | Ron French
A critical mass of business, political and education leaders pushes for reforms to increase child care access and affordability for low- and middle-income Michiganders.
January 22, 2020 | Ron French
Several people have made sexual misconduct allegations against Martin Philbert, a longtime fixture in Ann Arbor and former dean of U-M’s School of Public Health.
January 8, 2020 | Ron French
With bipartisan support in Lansing and a push from parents, two-year kindergarten programs are growing across the state, effectively leading the state toward a form of universal preschool.
December 18, 2019 | Ron French
Business leaders, teacher unions, charter schools and philanthropies are now saying the same thing: We have a plan to improve our schools. In Michigan, that’s news.
Hearing concerns from educators, Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader says he’s considering changes to the law that could flunk 5,000 third-graders in May.
December 11, 2019 | Ron French
More families, most of them white and more affluent, are enrolling children in two years of kindergarten, saving child-care costs and giving schools more state money. In effect, parents are stepping in when Lansing won’t.
A college degree still pays off, but pays off more at some universities than others, according to a new study. Compare the return on investment at Michigan two- and four-year colleges.
December 3, 2019 | Ron French
Sabrina, 8, is caught in the crossfire of two state education crises – the state’s new third-grade “read-or-flunk” law and an explosion in the use of uncertified long-term substitute teachers in state classrooms.
November 26, 2019 | Ron French
A new Wayne State University study finds that factors outside of school have a huge impact on school attendance, such as asthma, poverty and crime rates.
A group is arguing in a new lawsuit that Michigan’s strictest-in-the-nation legislative term limits are unconstitutional.
November 6, 2019 | Ron French
The good news: Low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds who enroll in the Great Start Readiness Program become better readers than those who don’t. The bad news? One-in-three qualified kids still aren’t enrolled.
The NAEP test, known as “the nation’s report card,” shows that state students are treading water on test results, as other states’ scores are going down. As a result, Michigan has risen to middle-of-the-pack status.
October 24, 2019 | Ron French
Most low-income Detroit high school grads already can attend Wayne State University tuition-free. But by making that an explicit, Wayne hopes more city students will see a future in college.
October 23, 2019 | Ron French
Bridge begins a series following four third-grade classes as they prepare for a test determining who moves on to fourth grade, and who stays behind.
October 17, 2019 | Ron French
Declining enrollment in teacher prep programs means bigger teacher shortages, which leads to more uncertified teachers leading Michigan classrooms.
October 7, 2019 | Ron French
Superintendents in some of Michigan’s most isolated districts blame Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Repubican leaders for a budget fight that they say threatens their future and treats students like political pawns.
October 7, 2019 | Ron French
Meager funding, lower birth rates and a skeptical public are forcing several Michigan universities to adjust to a world with fewer degree options, larger classes and tighter budgets.
September 26, 2019 | Ron French
A survey of superintendents confirms a teacher shortage forcing schools to turn to less-qualified long-term substitutes.
Tucked inside the $59.9 billion budget, Michigan legislators have proposed big cuts to the Department of Education unless it creates A-F school grades, shifts money for redistricting and requires the construction of a controversial psychiatric facility in Caro.
Yes, Michigan has bad roads, but their quality varies widely throughout the state, according to 2018 rankings of road conditions, which may inform lawmakers’ debate about whether to raise taxes for upgrades.