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  Rafferty, Max
NameMax Rafferty
, California , United States
Born May 19, 1917
DiedJune 13, 1982 (65 years)
Last ModifedRBH
Aug 11, 2007 05:59pm
InfoRafferty spent most of his childhood in Sioux City, Iowa, before his family moved to California in 1931. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1933. Rafferty earned his B.A. (1938), M.A. (1949), and Ph.D. (1955) from the University of California, Los Angeles. Rafferty was a career educator. During his Senate campaign later in life, Rafferty was accused of using a walking cane to avoid service in World War 2. His opponent pointed out with glee, "The day World War 2 ended, Max Rafferty celebrated "by throwing his cane away". His first job was as a teacher in the Trona Unified School District in San Bernardino County, California. He then went on to jobs as vice-principal, principal, and school superintendent in various California schools. In 1962 he was elected to the nonpartisan office of Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California. He held this office for two terms, from 1963 to 1971, after which time he became the Dean of Education at Troy State University in Alabama. His educational philosophy was one of back to basics, and he bragged that he "killed progressive education in California."

Rafferty was the author of a number of books on educational philosophy, including Suffer, Little Children (1963), What They Are Doing to Your Children (1964), and Max Rafferty on Education (1968). His newspaper column, "Dr. Max Rafferty", was syndicated nationally. Rafferty was the Republican candidate for the U. S. Senate in 1968, having beaten Senator Thomas H. Kuchel in the Republican party primary, but then in turn was defeated in the general election by incumbent state controller Alan Cranston. In 1970, Rafferty was defeated for re-election as Superintendent of Public Instruction by Wilson Riles. Rafferty died at the age of sixty-five when his car plunged off an earthen dam into a pond. His papers were donated to the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries in Iowa City, Iowa.


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  11/03/1970 CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Lost 45.87% (-8.26%)
  06/02/1970 CA Superintendent of Public Instruction - Primary Won 48.90% (+23.78%)
  11/05/1968 CA US Senate Lost 46.87% (-4.94%)
  06/04/1968 CA US Senate - R Primary Won 50.05% (+3.13%)
  06/07/1966 CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Won 68.50% (+55.85%)
  11/06/1962 CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Won 53.76% (+7.51%)
CA US President - D Primary - Jun 06, 1972 D George C. Wallace
US President - D Primaries - Jun 06, 1972 D George C. Wallace