Erica Turner

Associate Professor

(608) 262-6539

227 Education Building

1000 Bascom Mall

Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Turner, Erica

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Erica O. Turner is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Her research examines racism and inequity—and efforts to challenge those—in education policy and practice. She uses a sociocultural, critical race approach to understanding educational policymaking and practice, and the consequences of educational inequity for students, families, communities, schools, and policymakers. Her scholarship illuminates how diverse groups—from school district leaders to students to community members—make sense of and negotiate education problems, policies, equity and justice amidst shifting social, political, and economic contexts.Through her research and teaching she seeks to deepen how we conceptualize policy problems, racial equity, educational aims, and policy alternatives and ultimately to contribute to the knowledge necessary to make public schooling more equitable and just. Professor Turner has published on these topics in her book Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality (University of Chicago Press, 2020) and in journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Researcher, Journal of Education Policy, and Urban Education. Her work has been supported by grants from the University of Wisconsin, the Spencer Foundation, the State Farm Companies Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Professor Turner was a middle school teacher before earning her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.


  • PhD Education, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
  • MA Education, University of California, Berkeley, 2008
  • BA Political Science, Swarthmore College, 1999

Select Publications

  • 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. (2018) Marketing diversity: Selling school districts in a racialized marketplace Journal of Education Policy, 33(6), 793-817.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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) 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.

Select Presentations

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

Select Awards and Honors

  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship, National Academy of Education, (2017, 2018)
  • ELL Policy Fellow, Working Group on ELL Policy, 2017
  • Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2013
  • Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, Madison, (2011, 2012)
  • Dissertation Writing Award, State Farm Companies Foundation, Bloomington, Illinois, 2010
  • University Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 2008
  • Spencer Research Training Grant Fellow, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, 2007
  • Naomi Kies Award for community service, Swarthmore College, 1999
  • Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellow, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 1997