High school degree? No

Reader Bella Parola points out several problems with a small article (we call it a “factbox” in the newsroom) titled “What specialists, inspectors do” on page 14A in Sunday’s paper and online here. You can read Bella’s other comments here. But I wanted to post separately on “high school degree.” I see that from time to time in our pages, and it always puzzles me. Why do people think high school graduates get a degree? Would that be some kind of pre-bachelor’s?

A college or university awards a degree. It comes from Old French for “rank.” The piece of paper we get when we graduate from high school is a diploma. It comes from Greek for “folded letter.” We also get a diploma from college, and the diploma spells out the kind of degree we earned.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.