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Public vs. Private Education Part 2

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Two local families similar in their daily routines have taken very different routes for their children's education, one private, one public.

Becky and Roger Simmons chose Bryan ISD for their daughter Kerri and twin boys Michael and David.

Randy and Suzanne Rother chose Brazos Christian School for their four children Beth, Becca, Luke and Matthew.

"We've just loved it. It's been a great experience for all four of our kids," says Suzanne.

The Rother's say they chose Brazos Christian because it offered a curriculum that included faith and religion.

"It reinforces what we teach and what we believe here at home, what it does is partner with us as a family to reinforce what we believe and make that a part of the entire education not just the mind and body but the spirit as well," says Randy.

The Simmons began all of their children in private pre-school, but chose to give public school a try.

The Simmons say they've never second guessed that decision.

And an education in life is the very reason they continue to educate their children in the public school system.

"I think it's real important for them to get a good academic education but for us it was equally important for them to get an education about life," says Becky.

But both private and public schools battle stereotypes that these families say have not been the case in their experiences.

"When you think of public school you think of big and overwhelming and you have to personalize public education and make it something that is for you and you're family," says Becky.

And the Rother's say a private school is not a shelter from ''the real world.”

"One thing I think is great about our school is we have a broad range of socioeconomic classes that are there," says Randy.

The families did choose their children's schools based on many true stereotypes.

Smaller class sizes and individual attention are two positives the Rothers enjoy about private school.

"There are opportunities there that a lot of kids will thrive in, athletically, at the same time kids need certain things or want to go in certain directions that a smaller school can't offer," says Randy.

The Simmons say their children benefit from the activities offered because Bryan ISD is a 5A school district.

Above all, both families say the quality of teachers is what is most influential in their children's schooling.

And in a community that puts a high value on education, the difference between schools isn't that big after all.

"I think it all boils down to people and it was so gratifying to know that there was no difference in the quality and integrity of the teaching and personnel," says Roger.