Keir Bloomer (pictured), a former council chief executive and one of the group which helped create the Curriculum for Excellence, suggested that after next year's election the new Scottish Government should set up a commission to examine how schools are run.
Mr Bloomer, an independent education consultant, argued clusters of schools could become directly funded and take control of all their functions - including payroll, catering and cleaning as well as matters such as development of their curriculum.
However the teachers union the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) claimed the current system worked well and insisted politicians should be "very careful to jettison what has served Scotland so well over a long period of time".
Mr Bloomer told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "After the election, whatever government is in power, ought to set up a commission to look at the way in which schools are run in Scotland."
He added: "The reason for that is that frankly education systems all over the world are falling behind the needs of children in the contemporary world.
"The reason for that I think is the way in which systems are run is unduly centralised, top down and bureaucratic. What we need to do is give much more power directly to the individual school to ensure decisions are made nearer to the point where they have impact."