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    two questions

    Today in the US, it is becoming more common to see queues where one can pay to get to the front. Certain customers get higher priority because they pay. For example, in US airports, priority queues are now visible everywhere. Many airlines now board their passengers according to the amount of money they’ve paid for their tickets.

    Americans have a deep-rooted belief in the market and since priority queues can bring extra profit, it’s no surprise they’ve been invented and are even turning up in public places. But bringing the priority queuing idea into the American college system has started a fierce public argument.

    California’s community colleges have provided generations of low-income students access to higher education. However, budget cuts have forced some colleges to reduce the number of classes they offer—and getting a seat can be tricky. Desperate to widen access, Chui Tsang, president of Santa Monica College, came up with a program last spring, which was to allow students to pay for a guaranteed seat in a class, with the extra money being used to arrange more classes. Those who can afford it can pay a little higher while those who could not afford it would have to wait and try to get on the course again at a later date.

    But not all students were convinced. They said the plan treated the students who were poor differently as they would have to wait in order to attend the class. Tension over the program led to protests, leading campus police to drive away a number of students by force. The Californian head of education requested that the college put the program on hold. Tsang has not given up though, and hopes to reintroduce it at a later date.

    But do traditional American values like fairness and equal opportunity really coexist with letting someone buy their way to the front of the line? And what happens when the people who pay more want more?

    1. The root of the issue lies in __________.
    A. American’s deep belief in market
    B. The loss of fairness and equality
    The answer given is B, but I choose A.
    I think the question is a bit ambiguous in terms of “the issue”. Does it refer to “priority queues” or “the program mentioned in the third paragraph”? Am I right?

    2. Which can best describe the author’s attitude toward priority queues?
    A. Disappointed B. Unclear C. Objective
    The answer given is A, but I choose C.
    I think the author is objectively introducing and analyzing the phenomenon of “priority queues” in US. How can I find the sense of disappointment in the passage?

    Thanks for your help!


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    Re: two questions

    The priority queues are an introduction, a background to the real point of the article (the proposed program at Santa Monica). It is a sense of fairness that is the issue.

    I agree that #2 is a poor question. The author does not express disapproval of the practice explicitly, only when the concept is extended to the placement of students into classes.

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