With thousands of schools and universities from coast to coast providing instruction to millions of students, it's difficult to generalize about what is in store for those institutions in 2013.
Some school districts serve booming areas and are grappling with how quickly they can build new facilities to accommodate the student population. Other districts have seen their enrollment erode and must carry out school closings or program cuts so they can operate more efficiently.
Some education institutions have to deal with the damage inflicted on their facilities by the fury of nature, while others have to address building problems brought on by neglect or deferred maintenance.
The nation's economy, while no longer at the depths it was four years ago, has not improved to the point where education institutions can be assured that they will receive the funding needed to avoid further cutbacks and provide a suitable education to students.
So, regardless of where they are situated or the specific conditions they face, schools and universities in 2013 will have to address familiar issues that confront them every year: providing adequate classroom space where students can learn effectively; wrestling with budget restraints that limit the ways they can improve education offerings; striving to provide clean and healthful facilities so that students can learn effectively; and making sure that students and staff have the resources needed to achieve educational goals.
But overshadowing all the issues facing education institutions in 2013 and beyond is the safety of students and staff on campuses and schoolhouses. As the new year began and classes resumed this month, the shock of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., was still being felt in classrooms and administrative offices across the nation. As educators and administrators determine whether they need to make changes in the wake of the Newtown shootings, school security is certain to be a major focus for 2013.