Arthur Benjamin of Harvey Mudd College, a very selective science and math school in Claremont, CA, gave a short three minute talk at TED about why statistics ought to be taught over calculus in America's mathematics curriculum. (Full disclosure: The Kauffman Foundation helps to fund TEDTalks.)
Firms, too, have taken note. Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's Senior VP of Product Management, in a YouTube talk at his alma mater, says that students should aspire to be "data samurais."
Given this importance, there ought to be some kind of Hippocratic oath for statistians. While failing to do calculus properly can result in a poorly built bridge, failing to do statistics correctly can lead to horrible policies that create perverse and oftentimes completely opposite incentives.
Professor Benjamin is right: It would do wonders for our education system if people understood what a standard deviation is and how to find a mean.