Who is responsible for education?

A desperate plea from the parent of special needs child: we’re at our wit’s end

For those of you unfamiliar with New Zealand law, it is the Ministry of Education’s responsibility, not the parent’s responsibility, to provide children with an education."
I find it hard to disagree with her conclusion as that is indeed the case. Two of my conversations yesterday were with mothers who were very concerned about the Education Crisis as described by NZEI (the teacher's union). However, when I asked what they will be personally doing in response to the crisis they replied, "I pay my taxes, there is nothing I can do." 
I followed that up with, "But what if there really is no more money?"
They replied again with, "Well, there's nothing I can do, the government HAS to fix it."
Are we really that helpless? Are we completely at the mercy of the government when it comes to our children's education?