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 and an affiliate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Her research examines racism and inequity—and efforts to challenge those—in education policy and practice. She uses sociocultural and critical race theories to understand 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 journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Researcher, Journal of Education Policy, Urban Education and Race, Ethnicity and Education. Her book Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality (University of Chicago Press, 2020) won the 2021 Erickson and Hornberger Outstanding Ethnography in Education Book Award and an honorable mention for the 2021 Bourdieu Best Book Award from the Sociology of Education Association. 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. A native of San Francisco, Professor Turner was a middle school teacher before earning her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.

Turner, Erica


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