Having retired from gridiron battles with his rivals in the Big Ten conference, Bo Schembechler, the former University of Michigan football coach, appears to have found a new opponent: the Detroit School Board.
The former coach found himself scrambling from a blitz of board criticism last month after he was quoted as saying that public schools in Detroit and Flint, Mich., suffer because their teachers come "from some place down South or some godforsaken places and schools that I've never heard of."
Kay Everett, a Detroit school-board member, expressed outrage at Mr. Schembechler's remarks, and later invited him to meet with school officials and find ways to help the schools he had criticized.
Mr. Schembechler, now the president of the Detroit Tigers, wrote letters to Ms. Ev6erett and other educators saying that he had not intended to demean teachers in Detroit or other parts of the state. He declined Ms. Everett's invitation to go to bat for the schools, however, saying he is unable at this time to serve in a political position, a Detroit Tigers spokesman said.
Jaime Escalante caused a stir last month when reports that the renowned calculus teacher was leaving Garfield High School in East Los Angeles were splashed across the front page of the city's largest Spanish-language newspaper, La Opinion.
Mr. Escalante, whose success teaching calculus to disadvantaged Hispanic students was chronicled in the hit movie "Stand and Deliver," was frustrated over the decision of some students to drop calculus in favor of after-school sports or part-time jobs.
Since he first arrived at the school in 1974, Mr. Escalante has threatened several times to leave. The latest such threat, however, received unprecedented attention because of the coverage given to it by La Opinion.
Mr. Escalante made the decision to stay on his own, Maria Tostado, Garfield's principal, said last week, adding that she expects him to remain at the school for at least another year and a half.