And I am presuming that you assign only meaningful work (no word searches!) that supports the standards, their learning, and will help them grow as readers, writers and thinkers.
Our principal came up with what we call the Three Strikes plan. If a student misses three assignments in my class, I send her to the office. She calls home in the presence of a counselor, reading a scripted message, alerting the parents about the situation.
Usually this is enough to get kids doing their work. God bless these parents!
Three-peat offenders (the office keeps track of how many times kids make the call) are assigned to Saturday School to do their assignments. Hey, if the parents can't or won't do their job, we're here to help.
In my own classroom, I give the class a star each time they have a 100% turn in day. When they have three stars, I spring for the most awesome donuts ever, way better than the neighborhood donuts. And guess what? Peer pressure is on my side, now, especially after one class gets a taste and spreads the word.