Schools as market-based clusters: Geospatial and statistical analysis of charter schools in Ohio




Ohio, Charter Schools, Access to Education, Race, Poverty, Geographic Information Systems, Segregation, Cluster Grouping


This study contributes to the growing body of research concerning the strategic geographic positioning of traditional charter schools (TCS) in urban areas and their segregative effect by considering economist Michael Porter’s concept of business clusters, in which businesses ‘cluster’ to maximize their potential profit and to gain access to a customer base. Using a mixed-methods approach, we use geographic information systems (GIS) to perform an Average Nearest Neighbor Analyses (ANNA) to determine if charter and public schools (TPS) cluster in Ohio’s Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). We analyze school enrollment data and the local census tracts using MANOVA to compare the characteristics of TCS and TPS and produce maps of the results. Consistent with other research, we find evidence of increased segregation. The ANNA and MANOVA results indicate that TCS are more clustered than TPS and they tend to locate outside of the poorest communities with higher concentrations of Black and poor individuals.


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Author Biographies

Elizabeth A. Gilblom, North Dakota State University

Elizabeth A. Gilblom is an assistant professor in the Education Doctoral Program at North Dakota State University. She received her Ph.D. in urban education with a specialization in adult, continuing, and higher education from Cleveland State University. Her research interests include privatization in education, geographic information systems, community-based education and adult education.


Hilla I. Sang, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Hilla Sang is a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management at Kent State University’s College of Public Health. She currently works as the Data Visualization and GIS Specialist at UNLV's Lied Library. Her research interests include spatial analytics, geographic information systems, and health equity.





How to Cite

Gilblom, E. A., & Sang, H. I. (2019). Schools as market-based clusters: Geospatial and statistical analysis of charter schools in Ohio. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 15.