The government is reviewing the Tomorrow's Schools system that underpins the way more than 2000 state schools are governed and managed.
The review is part of a three-year work plan that includes reviews and plans for early childhood education and the polytechnic sector.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said there was no plan to replace Tomorrow's Schools, but he wanted to review it.
"Tomorrow's Schools is nearly 30 years old. It's time to actually have a look at whether it is fit for purpose.
"Boards of trustees are one of the features of Tomorrow's Schools, that have had many benefits but they have also bought a competitive element to the way schools are run as well, that hasn't always been helpful to young people's learning, so we're looking at all of that."
Mr Hipkins said the government would not dictate change and wanted to work with the education sector.
Schools said there was too much "red tape" that had stifled creativity and innovation, he said.
"We need to change that. We need a system - from the cradle to the grave - that is inclusive, that can adapt to the needs of the modern world," Mr Hipkins said.
The teacher union, the Educational Institute, said educators would need to be consulted heavily if the overhaul was to be successful.
"There are huge and pressing issues that need resolving in education. Today's announcement gives us some hope for these being addressed," President Lynda Stuart said in a statement.
She said those issues included teacher shortages and the ability to attract and retain teachers.