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Educational Policy Studies News

UW-Madison's Turner publishes article on school district attempts to sell diversity

October 26, 2017
UW-Madison's Erica Turner recently published an article with the ​online Journal of Education Policy about the marketing practices of school districts that emphasize the "racial diversity" of their students and schools while attracting new families. 

Turner is an assistant professor with the School of Education's Department of Educational Policy Studies

Erica Turner
Turner finds that in order to target upper- and middle-class white families, district leaders "draw on discourses of global cosmopolitanism, and commodify racial diversity as a competitive advantage for upper- and middle-class White families that leaders believe do not see inherent value in students of color."

School districts' attempts to sell diversity in order to attract upper- and middle-class white families sometimes only present diversity as an abstract notion, without acknowledging that all students could gain value  from interracial and intercultural interactions, Turner writes.

"Public schools serve students across ethnic, racial, linguistic, gender, and class lines, but this study asks scholars and practitioners to consider more deeply what it means to value diversity and what relationship diversity has with equity in education, particularly in increasingly marketized educational environments," Turner says.

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