I’m always impressed with the passion and creativity of teachers on DonorsChoose.org. It’s amazing to see how much dedication each teacher feels for his or her classrooms. Our friends over at Participant Media managed to capture this dedication and hard work in their film, Pressure Cooker, a documentary about a Culinary Arts teacher in Philadelphia who is always pushing her students to be better in the hopes that they can win scholarships to college.I was inspired by Pressure Cooker. Not only was it funny (the scene where the class takes a break from their rigorous practice schedule to discuss the prom and Mrs. Stephensen becomes a matchmaker had me cracking up) but it was also touching and inspiring. I wanted to be in this culinary arts class. I wanted to inspire students to be their best and go to college. I wanted my diced peppers to look like “little jewels.” I wanted to try the food they were making!This film also shines a light on a serious issue: the fact that the primary federal funding stream for career and technical education, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) has been gradually decreased, despite increased student enrollments, equipment costs and need for skilled workers. If you want to do something about it head on over to Participant Media’s social action site, TakePart.com, and sign the petition to increase the funding to the Perkins Act.At the very least, see the movie. It will be on BET on Sat., Sept. 12 at 6:30 PM/5:30C.And if you’re really feeling inspired, check out these cooking projects on DonorsChoose.org.