Bio for Erica O Turner



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Erica O. Turner

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Erica O. Turner

Assistant Professor
Educational Policy Studies (EPS)

227 Education Building  binoculars icon
1000 Bascom Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Office: 608/262-6539

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

Erica O. Turner is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, a 2017 NAE/Spencer Postdoctoral Scholar, Anna Julia Cooper Fellow, and ELL Policy Fellow. A scholar of education policy, her research examines how diverse groups—from school district leaders to students to community members—make sense of and negotiate education problems, policies, and equity in multi-racial school districts. She uses socio-cultural and critical race theories as well as qualitative, comparative case study methods to investigate the multiple ways people understand policies, problems, and equity; how they draw on different kinds of data and knowledge in policy-making; and the social, economic, political, and organizational conditions in which different groups’ views are rooted. Her research and teaching have been inspired, in part, by her experiences as a student in the San Francisco public schools and as a teacher in public and private schools in Philadelphia and in Ningbo, China. She earned her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and her BA (and certificate in secondary social studies) from Swarthmore College.


Ph D, Education, Policy, Organizations, Management and Evaluation
University of California, Berkeley

MA, Education, Policy, Organizations, Management and Evaluation
University of California, Berkeley

BA, Political Science, Education, Magna cum laude
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Research Interests

Erica Turner uses socio-cultural and critical race theories as well as qualitative, comparative case study methods to investigate local governance of public schools as a site of contestation and possibility for educational equity. She has studied how school districts respond to demographic change, school district policymaking, ELL policy implementation, and how education policy and practice (high stakes testing and cheating) are experienced by marginalized Black communities. Through her research Turner hopes to advance efforts to make schooling more equitable and contribute to “policy knowledge” that deepens researchers’, practitioners’, and policymakers’ conceptualization of policy problems, racial equity, educational aims, and policy alternatives. Her research has been supported by the University of Wisconsin, the Spencer Foundation, the State Farm Companies Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


  • Turner, E. (2020). Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality. University of Chicago Press.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Turner, E., & Mangual Figueroa, A. (2019). Immigration Policy and Education in Lived Reality: A Framework for Researchers and Educators. Educational Researcher.
  • Turner, E., & Beneke, A.J. (2019). “Softening” School Resource Officers: The Extension of Police Presence in Schools in an Era of Black Lives Matter, School Shootings, and Rising Inequality. Race, Ethnicity, and Education.
  • Turner, E. Marketing diversity: Selling school districts in a racialized marketplace. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 33(6), 793-817.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 8
    DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2017.1386327
  • Turner, E., & Spain, A.K. (2016). The multiple meanings of (in)equity: Remaking school district tracking policy in an era of budget cuts and accountability. Urban Education.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 7
    DOI: 10.1177/0042085916674060
    Download Publication
  • Turner, E. (2015). Districts' responses to demographic change: Making sense of race, class and immigration in organizational and political context. American Educational Research Journal. 52(1), 4-39.
    Online Publication/Abstract
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 56
    Download Publication
  • Coburn, C.E., & Turner, E. (2012). The practice of data use: An introduction. American Journal of Education. 118(2), 99-111.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 222
  • Turner, E., & Coburn, C.E. (2012). Interventions to promote data use: An introduction. Teachers College Press. 114(11), 1-13.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 37
  • Coburn, C.E., & Turner, E. (2011). Research on data use: A framework and analysis. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 9(4), 173-206.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 289
  • Coburn, C.E., Bae, S., & Turner, E. (2008). Authority, Status, and the Dynamics of Insider- Outsider Partnerships at the District Level. Peabody Journal of Education. 83(3), 364-399.
    Abstract: Google Scholar citation count: 93


  • Turner, E. (2020, April 10). Race Ethnicity Workshop, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL.
  • Turner, E. (2019, November 22). How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality, Politics of Education Association Breakfast at the University Council of Educational Administrators Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Turner, E., & Mangual Figeroa, A. (2019, April 5). Toward a Theoretical Understanding of Immigration and Education Policy, American Educational Research Conference, AERA, Toronto, Canada.
  • Turner, E. (2019, February 28). Political Context of Anti-Racist Educational Leadership, Conference on Strengthening Anti-Racist Leaders to Advocate for Racial Equity Amongst Political Uncertainty, Chicago, IL.
  • Turner, E. (2018, November 16). Managerial Multiculturalism and Efforts to Address Racial Inequity, National Academy of Education Annual Meeting and Fall Fellows Retreat, National Academy of Education, Washington, DC.
  • Turner, E. (2018, April 15). Equity for Whom?: Diverse Voices Debate (In)equity in Bilingual Education, Excellence in Education Research: Early-Career Scholars and Their Work Poster Session, American Educational Research Association, New York.
  • Turner, E. (2018, March 14). When Language Education Meets the Market: Interest Convergence and the Expansion of Two-Way Bilingual Education, Race, Transformation, and the Politics of Inequality in Education Policy Lecture Series, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
  • Turner, E. (2017). The contradictory logics of school district leaders’ efforts at engaging community, American Educational Research Association Conference, AERA, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Turner, E. (2017). Unpacking “the public schools”: The racial state, test cheating, and the perspectives of working-class blacks, American Educational Research Association Conference, AERA, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Turner, E. (2015). Marketing “diversity”: School district policy in the shifting context of public education, American Educational Research Association Conference, AERA, Chicago, IL.

Awards and Honors

  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship
    Organization: National Academy of Education
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: National
    Date(s): September 1, 2017 - September 1, 2018
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 2017
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 2013
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: UW Madison
    Date(s): August 2011 - August 2012
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 2010
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 2008
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 2007
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 1999
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Date(s): 1997
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