Should we force students to take advanced math?

Hear that change jingling in my pocket? Good. I have two little questions for you.

I have a quarter, a dime and a nickel. How much money DO I have?

I have three coins. How much money COULD I have?

The first question is a basic arithmetic problem with one and only one right answer. You might find it on a multiple-choice test.

The second is an open-ended question with a number of different possible correct answers. It would lend itself to a wide-ranging debate over the details: Are these all American coins? Are any of them counterfeit? Do you have any bills?

Frankly, it’s a lot more interesting than the first…