Increasing attention has been given over the last decade by the statistics, mathematics and science education communities to the development of statistical literacy and numeracy skills of all citizens and the enhancement of statistics education at all levels. This paper introduces the emerging discipline of statistics education and considers its role in the development of these important skills. The paper begins with information on the growing importance of statistics in today's society, schools and colleges, summarizes unique challenges students face as they learn statistics, and makes a case for the importance of collaboration between mathematicians and statisticians in preparing teachers to teach students how to understand and reason about data. We discuss the differences and interrelations between statistics and mathematics, recognizing that mathematics is the discipline that has traditionally included instruction in statistics. We conclude with an argument that statistics should be viewed as a bridge between mathematics and science and should be taught in both disciplines.