Attacking the Labour-dominated Assembly for failing to introduce any substantial changes to the education system, Cynog Dafis, retired Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, said: "Labour prefers to tinker round the edges of Westminster policy. It is scared of anything that would strengthen the growth of Welsh nationalism."
In Wales there are no specialist schools or leagues tables and seven-year-olds do not sit tests at key stage 1.
This year the new Welsh baccalaureate qualification is to be piloted in 19 schools.
But Mr Dafis, a candidate in the forthcoming election for the Plaid Cymru presidency, told The TES: "If we had responsibility for pay, I'm sure we wouldn't have the bureaucratically overloaded system we have now."
Gethin Lewis, Welsh secretary of the National Union of Teachers, disagreed.
"There would be absolutely no benefit to devolving pay and conditions. The Assembly is not properly resourced for this. We would actively work against it," he said.
The Welsh Assembly spokesperson said: "There is no compelling case for change. It could affect schools' ability to recruit and retain staff on an equal basis with England."