2011 was a year of crisis and revolution, and that took a big toll on the world's financial markets. In the United States, stocks lurched along for much of the year, losing and gaining ground over and over again.
Stock prices are ending the year just about where they were at the beginning, and anyone who invested in anything but the bluest of blue chip stocks probably didn't make much money. And yet, the flat trend lines masked a huge amount of volatility, says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank.
Teachers and school districts say they agree that better teacher evaluations are needed, but they can't agree on the details. Now, those disputes threaten federal grants meant to encourage education reform.
Take New York state, which has a lot of failing schools. Those schools got more than $100 million in federal School Improvement Grants. In exchange, districts promised to phase in new evaluation systems.
For many people, 2011 wasn't a great year. When the economy wasn't sluggish, it was turbulent. And all manner of disasters seemed to rotate through the headlines. But in some states, and some neighborhoods, people got along just fine. Look closely at the worlds of business and sports, music and politics, and you'll find a few people and places that had it pretty good in 2011.