Both Barack Obama and John McCain embrace the idea of publicly financed, independently run charter schools as a way to reform the education system. But what is a charter school, and how do they differ from traditional public schools? Our guest, Nelson Smith knows a lot about it. He’s the President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and he joins us today to talk about what charter schools are and what they need to work.

Plus: they say all politics is local. But how political is the food you eat? Smart City Producer Scotty Iseri found out when he attended the Eat Local Challenge at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He’ll find out how delicious it can be when the food you eat comes from near by.

Smart City is a syndicated, weekly hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life: the people, places, ideas and trends that affect us all. Host Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, talks with national and international public policy experts, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others on the pulse of city life for a penetrating discussion on urban issues.

Smart City is broadcast at 6 a.m. Saturday and Sundays on WKNO-FM, but it is also webcast and podcast so you can listen to it anytime you like. For the webcast, times for the broadcast in other cities and to sign up for the podcast, visit our website.