Canon EOS Rebel T3i
It's a great camera; if you really want to learn put it in manual mode so you learn the technique instead of having the camera guess which shot you're trying to take. The 60D and 7D are a tad easier to use in manual mode without taking your eye off the viewfinder.
If you can find the T2i cheaper it's essentially the same camera, without the flip out LCD screen and a couple more details.
The 18-55 and 55-250 are decent and cheap lenses to start with; if you really want to see the difference with point and shoot cameras, try a fast lens on it, like the 50mm 1.8 at 1.8...
|AT-6 Harvard by jarud|
from Trainer aircraft
|Monarch butterflies winter roost at Pismo Beach by cjf2|
from Safety in Numbers (Nature)