There are a lot of layers to Friendman's article that tries to raise awareness of the comparatively "mediocre" results of American education.
As an economist, he naturally conceives of the issue in economist's terms, with a global outlook. Yet the social inequality that results from the great educational divide is also a serious issue, which takes a different viewpoint.
One of the comments by Len Charlap links to http://bit.ly/fAMi83 and highlights that Finland's education system is so successful because "they've won the war for talent by making teaching so appealing" with high salaries and competition.
Even this is a sort of commodification, but I am not totally against that; psychologically, we need markers to measure, compare and evaluate.
What I found striking is the mention of a OECD global school ranking comparison platform soon to be available (inshallah), which hopes to push parents to demand more by helping to make it clear to them that American education is lagging. The idea of information availability is important - now let's just see the validity of data and the public reaction. I'm not sure how this will get advertised to entice parents to take on that responsibility.