Voices from Across the Country Want Moneyball!


“This, my fellow citizens, is the new way of governing. . . . It’s not about left or right, it’s about doing the things that work, that move us forward.  And it also is also about setting clear goals, measuring progress and getting things done again.” –Martin O’Malley, Former Governor of Maryland, Former Mayor of Baltimore, March 11, 2015 during Brookings Institution, “Data-Driven Government: A New Approach to Governing” remarks

“I believe that we should create new incentives to catalyze bold state and local innovation in support of student success and achievement. We should support leaders in the field to build on evidence, and evaluate those efforts so that educators and policies can learn about what works and stop doing what doesn’t work.” –U.S. Department of Education Secretary (Obama) Arne Duncan, remarks at event outlining his vision for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), January 12, 2015

“The idea of Moneyball, which works for baseball, certainly works in business, works in government too, is to make things based on evidence as much as can you. Don’t just take an opinion poll – if you can actually go behind the opinions to figure out what’s the data that supports the optimism, the pessimism, the anxiety or the happy talk, then the business, the government will be in better shape.” -Cass Sunstein, Harvard professor and former Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, January 6, 2015

“So instead of abdicating the field we should be applying conservative principles to the problems of our day in a pragmatic, commonsense, constructive way, tackling issues from the bottom-up rather than the top down with proven methods that have worked before and will work again. There are several key elements to a constructive conservative approach at the federal level in my view. Those would certainly include using the best research available and insisting on evidence based programs. Best practices, taking what works around the country and spreading those practices  to all communities. Leveraging federal dollars using short term federal matching funds to leverage more support and more buy in, locally. Outcome analysis, simply put, making sure that we are measuring performance and that it is required to report on that performance measurement. We know these tools work, but we are not using them in an effective way to help those the most vulnerable communities, the most vulnerable neighborhoods.” –U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), remarks during Results for America & The Hamilton Project event, April 17, 2013

“But we’ve got a lot of work to do on this budget. I just wish that congress in addition to tax reform, would look at how the money is spent, not just how much is spent, and work on getting better results for the money. You know, money ball, using those principles of how the money gets spent in a much more effective way.” –Jim Nussle on CNBC’s Closing Bell, March 4, 2014

“And when I say, by the way, building on what works, it means looking at the actual evidence of what works.  There are a lot of programs out there that sound good, are well-intentioned, well-inspired, but they’re not actually having an impact.  We don’t have enough money or time or resources to invest in things that don’t work, so we’ve got to be pretty hard-headed about saying if something is not working, let’s stop doing it.  Let’s do things that work.  And we shouldn’t care whether it was a Democratic program or a Republican program, or a fait-based program or — if it works, we should support it.  If it doesn’t, we shouldn’t.” –President Barack Obama, remarks at event announcing the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, The White House, February 27, 2014

“The reason for that rigorous research is simple—we want curriculum and instructional materials to be based on compelling evidence and the findings of cognitive science where possible, rather than on fancy marketing fads or popularity.” –Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, January 27, 2014

“I don’t care whether the ideas are Democrat or Republican.  I do care that they work.  I do care that they are subject to evaluation, and we can see if we are using tax dollars in a certain way, if we’re starting a certain program, I want to make sure that young people like Kiara are actually benefiting from them….And the second thing is they’re holding themselves accountable by delivering measurable results.  We don’t fund things, we don’t start projects just for the sake of starting them.  They’ve got to work.  If they don’t work we should try something else.  And sometimes those of us who care deeply about advancing opportunity aren’t willing to subject some of these programs to that test:  Do they work?” –President Barack Obama, Remarks on Promise Zones Initiative, January 9, 2014

“We increasingly have first-rate research — randomized controlled trials, testing antipoverty programs as rigorously as if they were pharmaceuticals — that give us solid evidence of what works or doesn’t.” –Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, January 8, 2014

“We work tirelessly to make sure families have the tools necessary to lead healthy, financially stable, well-educated lives. We hold ourselves accountable through constant use of evaluation and a rigorous focus on data. By using evidence and data to make sure we are improving our work and getting real results, we can drive long-lasting positive change in communities across the country.” –Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President, United Way Worldwide, Statement on the Moneyball for Government Campaign, December 20, 2013

“By leveraging the talent, energy and idealism of the next generation of entrepreneurs and citizen leaders, we can fight the dropout crisis in this country. Yet to have any real success, we have to know where, and how, to spend our limited resources. We believe fully in evaluating our work, focusing on results and using data and evidence to guide our investments toward programs that are proven successes.” –Michael Brown, CEO and Co-Founder, City Year December 20, 2013

“We can’t afford to be flying blind as we seek to meet the spending constraints that both parties have embraced. Government leaders need a new and better way to make decisions – and that’s Moneyball. To help our country move past the partisan gridlock and budget stalemates that are plaguing our Congress, a common-sense approach of evaluating what works is crucial.” – Former Director OMB (Obama), Peter Orszag, October 18, 2013

“And at a time of budget austerity … we’ve got to be sure that every dollar is spent in the most efficient, effective way possible.” – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), April 17, 2013

“If you really want to to innovate, you really have to invite that kind of creativity, and… if we had 100 percent successes, it probably means we didn’t take enough risk. It’s really in the risk taking where you can learn.” – Deputy Mayor of New York City Linda Gibbs, April 17, 2013

“The economic and fiscal need for more evidence-based policymaking is strong. But more directly, we are simply not doing well enough in developing solutions to social problems. … To rectify this, we need to reform the way the government does social spending so that we produce more experimentation, perform more rigorous evaluation of innovative ideas, and pay more attention to performance in funding decisions.” – Harvard Economist Jeff Liebman, April 17, 2013

“As our nation continues to deal with shrinking budgets and growing demand for services, we have a major task ahead of us to find ways to invest scarce federal resources more efficiently and more effectively in evidence-based, results-driven solutions.” – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), April 10, 2013

“Our goal should be to increase cost-effectiveness and return on investment across Government programs by harnessing data and evidence to improve results and efficiency.” – OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, April 10, 2013

“America is falling behind other countries in educating its people, meeting the demands of its workforce and enabling more Americans to climb the ladder of opportunity. In that context, we cannot afford to continue putting billions into federal programs without knowing if they produce results. We must create a smarter government that is a better steward of taxpayer funds, committed to investing only in what works and yielding maximum results.” – Former Bush DPC Director, Civic Enterprises President and CEO John Bridgeland, March 11, 2013

“Let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.” – President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, February 12, 2013

“I am fully committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help improve outcomes for young people and their families through the development and implementation of an agenda that invests in what works.” – Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), December 20, 2012

“It is the responsibility of the federal government to use tax dollars wisely, and to do so it must have hard evidence about what works—rigorous evaluations of programs. To get there, Congress and the president will have to work together to support the use of evidence and performance in the budget process, compel agencies to demonstrate evidence and ultimately spend taxpayer dollars in the most responsible way. In Washington, nothing motivates the bureaucracy greater than the prospect of losing funding.” – Associate Director OMB for President Bush Robert Shea, September 17, 2012

“We’re going to be doing a lot of deficit cutting over the next several years. The country’s future greatness will be shaped by whether we cut wisely or stupidly…. This period of austerity will be a blessing if it spurs an effectiveness revolution. It will be a disaster if the cutting is done politically or mindlessly.” – David Brooks, New York Times, February 28, 2011