The country's regional principals' associations have passed a vote of no-confidence in the Government's national standards in reading, writing and maths.
More than 60 principals representing almost every region met in Wellington last week and on Monday announced their vote against the national standards.
It builds on the Principals Federation's call for a moratorium on the standards and a full review.
The federation's president, Ernie Buutveld, says the vote is a significant step, and says the principals want the federation to take a harder stance on the issue.
The principals say the standards are not working and are confusing teachers and parents.
They want the Government to work in partnership with them and teachers to review the standards.
Education Minister Anne Tolley on Tuesday dismissed the no-confidence vote as politicking, saying the principals are scare-mongering.
Mrs Tolley says she has repeatedly agreed to work with them on the issue but they have refused to provide information so she can get official advice.
However, the Principals Federation says it will not provide detailed information until the minister agrees to work on a review with principals.