Chapter 2 begins by discussing education processes employed by Indigenous cultures and the conflicting worldviews with the European invaders. It then describes colonial schooling and its exclusion of Indigenous peoples and the persistent marginalization of underrepresented groups as education efforts expanded. Information about the development of the social studies curriculum, the formation of the National Council for the Social Studies in 1921, and changes up to the present follow.

The text notes the presence of different, competing conceptions of the most appropriate scope and sequence for contemporary K-6 social studies. It describes and analyzes the Expanding Environments approach and explains Powerful Social Studies. Five factors are then listed that account for competing conceptions of the most appropriate K-6 social studies scope and sequence.

It attends to the National Council for the Social Studies Standards Statement and C3 standards. It also discusses common core and the responsibilities that it impresses upon social studies teachers.

The chapter then reports on the current status of the K-6 social studies curriculum, noting its neglect in the primary grades and common instructional practices in the upper elementary grades. It mentions the influence of special interest groups and societal trends and issues in selecting and implementing content.