Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata says a push for schools to cover all civic and social responsibilities needs to be resisted - saying families and society must step up.
Parata highlighted the issue during an exit interview with the Herald before she steps down from the role on May 1, with Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye expected to take over.
"We should demand a lot from our education system because we have a quality one. But we shouldn't demand everything," Parata said.
"Financial literacy, sex education, bullying - any number of issues - whenever they emerge in the public domain the first response is, 'This should be taught by schools'. I think there needs to be a much fairer shared responsibility here between parents, family, whanau.
"Schools are there to deliver an education. They are not there to take over all the roles and responsibilities of families or society. The more there is balance in those expectations the more the schools can have the space to be the best that it can be."
Parata was elected to Parliament in 2008 and has served as Education Minister since 2011. She has overseen the start of the biggest education reforms since 1989, including an ongoing funding review that will scrap the decile system by 2020.
One area she highlighted as needing much more work is how to improve the accountability of teachers and others in the education system.
"Quality teaching and leadership is on a continuum," Parata said. "Not everyone is excellent immediately, and I would welcome unions being prepared to accept that is the case and how do we work to raise the quality all the way along that continuum.
"That is no different to any other professional workforce but when you are just met with, 'everyone is excellent and therefore everyone deserves exactly the same'. That, again, is not very helpful."
In a think piece on that subject prepared for Treasury, Professor Helen Timperley from the University of Auckland and PhD candidate Sarah Mayo highlighted a potential accountability problem with new "Communities of Learning" [CoLs], established under Parata and a major part of her legacy.
CoLs encourage groups of local schools to work together, with teachers and principals paid more to take a lead.
Timperley and Mayo said their examination of three CoL plans showed up "worrying signs", including a collective culture focused on student deficits and that bypasses the contribution of adults.
Parata said that was not a weakness in the model, but Timperley's point was valid as a major challenge was how to lift teaching quality.