Science education is the field interested in sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the science community. The target individuals may be children, college students, or general public adults. The field of science education contains some science content, some sociology, and some teaching pedagogy.
Science education standards
In many US states, K-12 educators must adhere to rigid standards or frameworks of what content is to be taught to which age groups. Unfortunately, this often means teachers rush to "cover" the material, without truly "teaching" it. In addition, the process of science is often overlooked, such as the scientific method, and critical thinking, producing students whom can pass multiple choice tests (such as the New York and California Regents exams and the Massachusetts MCAS), but cannot solve complex problems. Although at the college level American science education tends to be less regulated, it is by chance more rigorous, with teachers and professors putting even more content into the same time period.
Scientists vs. educators
On the one hand, the elitism of professional scientists and academia has prompted numbers of education specialists to take interest in science education and making it more accessible to individuals. These science educators take the point of view that many groups (such as women, non-Asian and non-Jewish ethnic minorities, and the disabled) have been traditionally marginalized and excluded from science, to the detriment of the field. Opposing the science educators, traditional scientists feel it is important to not dilute respectable science. Only by running the gauntlet of higher education, graduate school, and so on, does one prove their reliability. Allowing those less qualified to perform science will only result in the propagation of errors and less accurate science. Both groups wish to train future scientists, they differ on how to do so, and whom is qualified.