Tom Friedman is right. Our world is flat. And it\u2019s getting flatter all the time\u2014especially for us.\u201cTough Choices for Tough Times,\u201d a new report from the National Center on Education and the Economy (largely funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education), says that unless America changes how it educates its citizens, our economy will be flattened\u2014KO\u2019d\u2014by more educated ones.The report claims that \u201cthe core problem facing America is that our education and training systems were built for another era.\u201d Like, say, the 19th century.Those systems built America into the 20th century\u2019s supereconomy but they won\u2019t work in the 21st century, where we will be competing with newer, more nimble, more educated economies that do not have our last-century look and baggage.One of my favorite vignettes from Friedman\u2019s best-selling The World Is Flat is the one in which he interviewed the mayor of a Chinese city (there are 23 cities with 1 million or more residents in the People\u2019s Republic; there are only nine in the United States) who told him that while Chinese workers are content today to be the \u201cbricklayers\u201d of the global economy, their aspiration is to become its \u201carchitects.\u201d With China now producing nearly five times as many science, technology, engineering and math graduates as the United States, it won\u2019t be long before that aspiration is realized. And unless Washington seriously considers the findings of \u201cTough Choices for Tough Times,\u201d it won\u2019t be long before we become the bricklayers.The report offers a 10-step program for upgrading America\u2019s education system to 21st-century global standards. One of its more provocative suggestions is this: Train and deploy a teaching force recruited from the top third of the high school students going to college each year, our nation\u2019s best and brightest.This report is not just another product of Washington\u2019s think tanks, all gloom and doom. It\u2019s important that we invest in changing the way we educate our citizens.As the report\u2019s title says, these are tough choices for tough times. Write to me at email@example.com and I\u2019ll send you a copy of the report.