The drop out rate for African American and Latino males in the Philadelphia public schools is so horrific that the school district needs to revise many of its strategies, according to a task force that has studied the problem.

Only 45 percent of the district's African American male students graduate in four years while the rate for Latino males is 43 percent.

After studying the problem for 10 months, the task force established by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is calling for the district to reexamine its zero tolerance policy toward violence; consider offering single-sex classes; add more music and arts programs and raise academic standards.

The district also should give students mentors, internships and opportunities for paying jobs that demonstrate how the academics subjects are tied to workforce skills.

But above all, the panel said, teachers and school staff must treat students fairly and with respect.

Students and former students told the task force that the district now "pushes" them to leave before graduation.

Commission Chairman Robert Archie and Commissioner Johnny Irizarry are scheduled to present their findings to Supt. Arlene Ackerman and Mayor Nutter this morning.

The mayor has made improving the high school and college graduation rates in the city a top priority for his administration.