This is not a scholarly article with citations and references (so if you want a link go buy some pork sausage ;)
A buddy who likes NCLB (and has never taught anything in his life - his wife taught his boys how to ride bicycles!) made the comparison: "Education reforms are like Money Ball. Businessmen are trying to change education because it is broken ... they're trying a new approach and what is wrong with trying something new to see if we can fix it?"
First, "What is wrong with trying something new" depends on the nature of what you are trying Generally, new things are neither right nor wrong - specifically some new things are right and others are wrong ... in fact some are so wrong we shouldn't have to try them to figure that out (I don't need to drill holes in my skull to know it's a bad way to fix my headaches). But, the important thing is: Educators already try new stuff all of the time - new techniques, new examples, new exercises. Teacher development practically mandates that teachers try new things. I'd be willing to wager that educators try new things much more often than businesses do. So responding to teachers' push back against particularly bad ideas, like NCLB, with 'try something new' is disingenuous: teachers are the most receptive audience to trying new things. If they don't like it - it must be obviously bad ... like drilling holes in your head!
Second, a lot of these 'something new' ideas are not new at all. They've been drilling holes in skulls for millennia ... and nowadays we leave that sort of thing for the last resort. And some of the 'new ideas' presented in these educational reforms are not new, either. They have tried merit pay rewards for teachers for nearly a century and they have discovered it isn't effective. Indeed, it isn't that effective for most employees be they fry cooks or master teachers. Studies find that there may be a short-lived bump in performances after the pay raise, but as soon as the employee has acclimated to the new salary they go back to the status quo in performance. Also, fear-based motivation doesn't produce positive results. When people are afraid of punishment for bad performance they become afraid to take risks or attract attention to them (after all, how many times have we thought we did a good thing to be told by higher ups is was a bad thing?). Fear makes people stop striving for excellence and instead they try to avoid big, noticeable failures. Fear of punishment motivates people to cover up mistakes... or even cheat. Most of the 'market based education incentives' have been thoroughly tested in charter & private schools ... and they do not produce any better results than traditional public schools (when comparing the same student population - ya gotta compare apples to apples!).
Third, if you read Money Ball, you see that prior to applying SabreMetrics, most Baseball managers, coaches, scouts didn't do any real analysis to make decisions they relied on hunches and common sense. Billy Beane applied analysis and research to Baseball and made the Oakland A's a much more cost effective team. OTOH: If you look at Education, there's over a century of research and analysis - real research and real analysis. Cognitive scientists weigh in on when it is appropriate to introduce certain abstract concepts to children (all kids know "The Earth is Round" but up to 3rd grade many think we're standing on a round disk - by 4th or 5th grade the realize we're standing on the outside of a ball). Things like NCLB are actually the opposite of MoneyBall where people armed with hunches and common sense business approaches are trying to replace decades of solid research and analysis.
Fourth, if you want to try something new - try it in a few locations and use control groups and prove that it actually works before making everyone do it. I don't want the Dept of Education mandating that everyone do something untested even if it sounds good - just like I don't want the AMA mandating that all doctors prescribe a certain untested drug to everyone - even if it sounds good. If all of these techniques can be shown to be that effective you won't have to make educators adopt them - they will be beating a path to your door to show them how to do it. [Oh, and all of these 'new ideas' have been tried already - they aren't all that they're cracked up to be.]
Finally (cuz I'm tired), We're still waiting for that World Series, Billy - I'd have a whole lot more faith in the so-called 'MoneyBall' approach to education if that approach got the A's into the world series. Before you MoneyBall my classroom, let's wait and see if MoneyBalling baseball does any good.
[E.d note - I realize that it looks like I mischaracterized the book, Moneyball, a bit. Please note, my buddy (well, I say 'buddy') used the term MoneyBall to refer to "outside experts using analysis & novel ideas to breath new life into a antiquated, failing system." In this piece, my usage of MoneyBall mainly follows his (with a couple of exceptions). My, apologies to Mr Lewis]