An American author, politician and educator, he is known for What They Are Doing to Your Children, a book that denounced progressive education. He was also the author of the syndicated newspaper column, Dr. Max Rafferty.
He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and was raised in Sioux City, Iowa and in Beverly Hills, California. He received several degrees from the University of California-Los Angeles.
He served as California State Superintendent of Public Instruction and campaigned unsuccessfully in 1968 for a Republican seat in the U.S. Senate.
He and his actress and model sister, Frances Rafferty, were born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He and his wife, Frances Longman, had two daughters and a son.
He became Dean of Education at Alabama's Troy University, where journalist Jill Dobson was once a student.