Producing an Education Documentary

A low-income single mother homeschooling her children during the pandemic was featured in a film produced by Aisha Sultan. The St. Louis-based columnist discusses the filmmaking process and the emotional toll of reporting on educational inequality. (EWA Radio Episode 309)

Photo credit: Aisha Sultan


COVID-19 caused an unprecedented disruption in children’s learning. Even though schools reopened, we are still dealing with the effects, such as academic gaps, mental health challenges and behavioral issues. The federal government has poured billions of dollars into states to help children catch up.

A syndicated columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aisha Sultan frequently covers education and parenting. She also directed and executive produced the independent documentary “Education, Interrupted.” The film is about 30-year-old Tyra Johnson, a single mother of three children who lives in one of the poorest ZIP codes in the country. 

Aisha followed Tyra through the pandemic and filmed the challenges Tyra faced trying to educate her children at home. The resulting documentary, which was also an EWA Reporting Fellowship project, premiered at the Saint Louis International Film Festival and aired on Nine PBS in St Louis.

In this week’s episode, we chat with Aisha about the differences between print and visual languages, the emotional toll of reporting on educational inequality and what she wishes she had known before she started making films.

Subscribe to the EWA Radio Podcast

Find us on  iHeartRadioiTunesGoogle PodcastsGoogle Play MusicPocket (app only)SpotifyStitcher,  or through the RSS feed.