We interviewed Eleesha Tucker, Executive Director of Utah 3Rs Project.
First, what is the Utah 3Rs Project?
The Utah 3Rs Project promotes the public’s understanding of the religion clauses in the U.S. Constitution and their relationship to public schools. We equip teachers and parents to prepare Utah students to apply the 3Rs—Rights, Responsibility, and Respect—to their citizenship in a modern pluralistic society, empowering them to wrestle productively with our deepest differences.
Specifically, the Utah 3Rs Project promotes understanding of:
Religious liberty, the freedom to believe or not believe, as an inalienable right of every person;
The religion clauses of the First Amendment as the guides for living with our deepest differences in American society;
The responsibility of every citizen to protect freedom of religion or belief of others;
Religious diversity in American society as a civic good, and;
Civil dialogue as a skill of American citizenship.
Who are you?
What is the training you are offering teachers on July 28 on Utah Valley University campus?
We are offering a summer professional development program, Civil Dialogue: A Competency of Citizenship, that will equip grade 7-12 teachers with strategies in teaching and modeling civil dialogue. We will use religious differences as a lens for broader differences in American society. Teachers will also explore Utah’s changing demographics and learn how to recognize and counter their own unconscious bias.
Part of the training will focus on exploring the following Utah-based case studies in civil dialogue:
Case Study 1: Bozniaks and Mormons (Knowledge)
Case Study 2: Book of Mormon Vandal (Skills)
Case Study 3: The LGBTQ+ Advocate and the Mormon Mom (Attitude)
Case Study 4: The Atheist and the Muslim (Motivation)
Visit this link to see the case studies as student-facing modules.
Teachers who register will receive a stipend of $100 when they meet requirements. All participants will receive six re-licensure points.
To register (space is limited), please contact Eleesha Tucker at etucker@utah3Rs.org
How did the Utah 3Rs Project begin?
Dr. Charles C. Haynes, founder of the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute, and Dr. Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, the legal architect of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act trained public school teachers and administrators about the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Their efforts, as captured in the landmark book, Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Schools, sparked a movement to create “3Rs” projects in various states in the 1990s, including Utah. These projects were based on the premise that every person has rights, everyone has the responsibility to protect the rights of others, and to respectfully contribute to civic discourse.
The Utah 3Rs Project fulfilled its mission for over ten years. Then it faded out when key leaders retired. Now the Utah 3Rs Project is in a revival.
What is your vision for the current revival of Utah 3Rs?
Our vision is to equip teachers and parents across Utah with the 3Rs framework to prepare the rising generation of students with the tools to heal an America increasingly divided by our differences. We aim to expand to reach every school district and community in Utah.