Robert Skoglund claims in his June 14 column (“A true polyglot likely would end up talking to himself in Maine”) that Mainers who speak anything other than English are “a curiosity.” He adds, “Why would a Maine man spend his life becoming fluent in several languages when he’d never get to use them?”

Clearly, The humble Farmer hasn’t been to Portland recently. Our community is home to people from all over the world.

Nearly a third of the students in Portland’s public schools speak a primary language other than English at home. Of the 57 languages spoken, the largest language groups, in order, are Somali, Arabic, Spanish, French, Khmer, Vietnamese, Acholi, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi and Portuguese.

Our district provides instruction in world languages, including Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin, beginning in elementary school. Next fall, we will launch the state’s first kindergarten immersion program in Spanish. We are working to ensure that all students gain fluency in a second language by the time they graduate.

Why? Because we are preparing students to succeed in the global marketplace. Fluency in a world language other than English is a major asset.

I invite Mr. Skoglund to visit our district and meet students who have mastered two, three or more languages. Their linguistic skills will help them succeed as they pursue careers right here in Maine.