Less than one-third of American students score proficient in reading. Less than a quarter are proficient in math. Fully, 70 percent of the countries that outperformed the U.S. in combined math and science literacy among 15-year-olds had more schools competing for students. “How has the richest and most innovative society on earth suddenly lost the ability to teach its children at a level that other modern countries consider ‘basic’?” Against this international backdrop, a new documentary by Bob Bowdon entitled “The Cartel” investigates, focusing on the New Jersey schooling system because it ranks first nationally in spending. “With spending as high as $483,000 per classroom…New Jersey students fare only slightly better than the national average in reading and math,” according to Bowdon, adding that less than half of Garden State students are ready for college.   As the title suggests, “The Cartel” is a gloves-off exposé of what Bowdon calls “an establishment of people who make money off of the current system, the status quo.” Of course, not everyone is happy about the documentary, including the state Department of Education and the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.  “I hope it changes the thinking of more money is always better in public education and becomes more of a debate on structural reform,” that is, school choice, according to Bowdon. “The Cartel” will undoubtedly resonate with viewers in New Jersey and across the country. See a video clip here.