Prime Minister John Key has raised the possibility of school "league tables" being published so parents can get a better idea of education quality.
The tables, which would rank schools in terms of their exam results, have been discussed in the past and teachers strongly oppose them.
They've come up again because of a report that the decile ranking system is causing a drastic drop in the number of Pakeha children attending schools in poorer areas.
The decile rankings depend on the socio-economic circumstances of communities, with decile one the lowest and decile 10 the highest.
Ministry of Education figures show there were 60,000 Pakeha children attending decile one, two and three schools in 2000, now they are half that number.
Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh says the only credible reason appears to be "white flight" from lower decile schools.
Mr Key says it seems some parents assume a decile ranking is a proxy for the quality of the school, and that isn't a fair way to look at them.
"Some sort of coherent league table would make sense," he said on Monday.
"How that data would be put together, and in what form, is a debate the ministry has to have with the education sector."
Mr Key says he doesn't want it to be presented in a "messy" way because some schools could be harmed by that.
"It's as complicated as hell and I don't want to see schools damaged," he said.