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Workers in Trades Deserve Respect

March 28, 1993

I just cannot resist the temptation of reacting to the article regarding Orange County's Gifted and Talented Education (program) ("Big Racial Gap Persists in O.C. GATE Programs," March 21).

The word "education" is misunderstood in most areas. It is generally limited to academics--sciences, arts, medicine and the like. As an architect, I have had contact with just about every trade and craft in the book. We may design an attractive, functional building and receive praise from many quarters. However, the people who put it together piece by piece seem to have been completely forgotten. Of course, it would be impossible to name everyone who had a hand in constructing the edifice; but at the same time, we should be aware of the intricacy and the skill required to erect any structure. I recall an incident 60 years ago in Sweden. A 19-year-old came up to me, all smiles, showing off his class ring and attractive certificate. He was now a master electrician. He was as proud as any graduate from Lund or Chalmers--and rightly so.

We often hear it said that "everyone is entitled to a college education," and I agree. The only difference is the definition of the word "education." Does it include every trade and craft in the dictionary? It should. Trades of all kinds and descriptions should be treated with the same respect as any other profession. After all, we have barber colleges, beauty colleges. Why not call schools teaching all trades colleges?

Here it is from Noah himself: "College: A school offering specialized instruction in some profession or occupation."

CARL G. LANS

Huntington Beach

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