A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education says Arizona spends an estimated $81 million a year on remedial education in the 2007-08 school year. The state also lost an estimated $51 million in potential lifetime earnings when many of those students dropped out of college, the report says.

Remedial education is ineffective at getting students ready for college-level work, and it's a waste of your tax dollars, too, the report says, because you're paying for a student to take an algebra class in high school and then paying for them to take an algebra class in college, for example -- and if the student then quits college before graduating it's a "lost investment."

"Taxpayers, students, and their families can no longer afford to pay double for the education students should have received in high school," the report states.

At Pima Community College here in Tucson, 20 percent of students are in http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/college/article_fa673322-3d54-5507-ae8a-996676c8c167.html"> remedial classes that cost $22 million a year and have very low success rates. The college is planning to put new admissions requirements in place to keep the least prepared students out, resulting in budget savings for the school. For those who don't make the cut, PCC is thinking about starting a "college readiness academy" as a non-credit step between high school and college.

And the University of Arizona has http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/college/article_a3f18770-f809-5e82-9b1c-3c9627ba8530.html"> started offering remedial math because so many of its freshmen aren't ready for college math. A recent press release says the UA is having success using new technology to teach remedial math.

I want to know what you think. Are remedial classes a good use of your tax dollars? Are Pima and UA on the right track with their new strategies for remedial classes?