Even With JSU, There’s a Local Hate on Education


Despite Jacksonville State University consuming a good portion of our community, they worship Mike Rowe’s anti-degree banter like the gospel.

Surviving Alabama’s mantra may be over-educated and under-employed, but that’s far from the full truth. Yes, I do have multiple degrees. But I am not under-employed by any means. I chose my non-traditional career path by wanting to spend more time with my children and you know what–I use my degree and make money without sitting in an office all day.

Anyone familiar with Facebook and living in the Jacksonville, Alabama, area has visited the two community Facebook groups:

  • What’s Happening in Jacksonville, where you go when you only have nice things to say and are unable to use Google. No arguing, discussing sports, politics, etc. If you like vapid 19th Century conversation like the agreeable weather and the state of the roads, this place is for you.
  • Jacksonville Community Group, where it’s dominated by a handful of members who are into everyone’s business and bitch freely, mainly about education, whether collegiate or the local board of education. If you are an outsider to their clique, good luck. The ironic thing about them is that the leaders of the clique are very much disliked by the general community off social media. Their only recourse is to become keyboard warriors.

Here’s an example of some of the college hatred:.

Of the hundreds of JSU students who come into my XXXXX’s little store and back int..o the studio… only ONE could read knowing what punctuation is… ONE lasted 3 days at Waffle House (they wanted you to run around really fast taking orders and then get them right) ONE lasted a week at Yamata’s (the boss was mean to me) One left a job unannounced to go home and change clothes into shorts and a Tee (they fired me because it was too warm) she took an hour and a half to return from her Dorm-room…the list never ends…

JSU Graduation
BS in Criminal Justice

Does he have a point? I don’t know. Some students are better prepared for college than others. As someone who has a business that often depends on college students, perhaps the original poster would redeem himself:

I know this post is a generalization… We have students that come in who are quite mature and with an excellent work ethic but the percentage is small…[…] I see errors everywhere… They may have a higher rate of “Degrees” but I have never seen less knowledge…

I’d take that as a no to the redemption offer.

A recent study by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center & School of Economics at the University of Maine found that in 2012, Americans with a BS or BA had annual earnings 134% than high school graduates who never attended college. Similarly, lifetime earnings are approximately 114% higher, the incidence of poverty 3.5x lower, and the likelihood of having employer provided health insurance 47 percent higher. The overall probability of being employed is 24 percent higher for college graduates. The study continued to examine the unseen benefits of a college education: greater rates of volunteerism, lower crime rate, and greater political involvement.

Jacksonville State University has an enrollment of approximately 8,000 students. U.S. News & World Report lists Registered Nursing, Education, and Criminal Justice as the top three majors at the university. Yes, by all means, let’s encourage our future nurses, teachers, and police officers not to pursue a higher education.

While there are certainly jobs that do not require a college education, to generalize the entire process as a waste of time and classify us all as ignorant is, well, ignorant in itself. I suspect that those in the Jacksonville Community who feel the need to belittle the higher learners have deeper issues and need to re-examine the basis of their negativity.

The negativity against the local school board also needs to be addressed. The same community bullies repeatedly attack and criticize our school board for following the rules. Those criticizing so much, oddly enough, have no children in the school system. Nonetheless, they are experts on everything ethical and educational.

Jacksonville residents need to come together with a big group hug. We need to support our students matriculating at our university and support our administrators who work tirelessly to provide an engaging environment for the children. Let bullies be bullies, but their hatred is ill-directed at education.

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Emily is the person to blame behind Surviving Alabama. She is a nerd, a mother, and sometimes pretends to be a writer (although there was that one legit writing job for a few years...). When she isn't writing, repairing computers, or designing websites, Emily is happily raising three children with her very understanding husband.


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