I cried some nights about the sacrifice I had made and reached a point where most people bail out.” His only inspiration was the 60-70 phone calls and hundreds of letters he received each week from thankful parents. They made him press on.
Today, Knowledge Base is broadcast in more than 3 million New Jersey and Louisiana households. The show won a Cable Television Network Award in 1995 and was recognized as the No. 1 public-access show in New Jersey. Called the “Pied Piper of Math,” Caliste developed a four-part video series in 1995, Mind Over Math, which provides problem-solving strategies and techniques to help increase standardized test scores.
“To the kids, I’m entertainment, but when I say SAT scores, Mom and Dad listen because then I’m talking about their child’s future,” states Caliste, adding that the SAT scores of hundreds of his “students” have increased by more than 75 points.
Now, with ’96 revenues of more than $100,000 and five investors, Caliste would like to take his show national. “Granted, I might not have done everything right, but I wanted my decision to have a positive effect,” he adds. “Math is a universal subject that transcends all races and people. By making it uncomplicated, I knew I could offer something to everyone.”
“Take a piece of candy for you and one for your brother,” says Janice Glenn Kershaw, 38, to her son, Matthew. To a five-year-old, the number one is relative.
Clack! Clack!, against the floor go the brightly-wrapped hard candies that won’t fit in Matthew’s tiny hand. Mom gently coaxes her son to surrender half of his bounty. Content with four, Matthew scurries off to share them with his three-year-old brother, Philip.
Kershaw knew such negotiation skills would be par for the course when she left her job at a major Washington, D.C., university in 1991. Matthew was four months old when she returned to work. The former associate director of affirmative action asked her boss for a flexible work schedule so she could have more time at home. Her job, which entailed investigating complaints and developing training programs, “didn’t require me to be in the office every day. I wanted to arrange to work at home two or three days a week,” recalls the Upper Marlboro, Maryland-resident. Her request was denied.
She had a long discussion with her husband, John, 40, an Air Force pilot at the time and now a Lt. Colonel and military aide to the assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon. Before Matthew’s birth, they considered all possible child care options, including a nanny, but at more than $1,000 a month, it was unrealistic. Kershaw was uncomfortable with home-care providers, afraid that they wouldn’t be able to provide individualized attention since they are allowed to care for up to six children at a time in the state of Maryland. Nor would day care centers provide the attention and environment the Kershaws wanted for their son. The decision was easy: the best person to care for their young son was