The New Zealand Educational Institute says poverty is holding this country back from having the best educational results in the world.
A report based on data from the OECD this week ranked New Zealand eighth out of 40 countries for educational outcomes.
It found the most important factor held in common by top performing countries was respect from the public for the value of education and teachers.
But NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said that can't carry New Zealand's educational system on its own.
He said most teachers and principals agree poverty is preventing them improving educational outcomes and the Government is ignoring the problem.
Ministry of Education chief executive Lesley Longstone has previously said that New Zealand cannot claim to be world class because Maori and Pasifika children and children from poor communities are under-performing.