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)

Assistant Professor
Educational Policy Studies (EPS)

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227 Education Building  binoculars icon
1000 Bascom Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53706

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.

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., & 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.
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  • Turner, E. (2015). School 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
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  • Coburn, C.E., & Turner, E. (2012). The practice of data use: An introduction. American Journal of Education. 118(2), 99-111.
  • Turner, E., & Coburn, C.E. (2012). Interventions to promote data use: An introduction. Teachers College Press. 114(11), 1-13.
  • Coburn, C.E., & Turner, E. (2011). Putting the 'use' back in data use: An outsider's contribution to the measurement community's conversation about data use. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 9(4), 227-234.
  • Coburn, C.E., & Turner, E. (2011). Research on data use: A framework and analysis. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives. 9(4), 173-206.
  • 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.

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
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