Agreed. You can try and B.S. the kids, but even though it is "beneficial" in the short term, you lose respect for treating them like nitwits. It's a lose-lose proposition.
I've gotten around this policy by marking zeroes as zeroes. Students can earn the proper credit by completing the assignment before the end of the marking period for any practice assignments. For quiz assessments, they may earn half-credit back by demonstrating knowledge through quiz corrections. As for tests, they get what they get. I'll have students, rarely, turn in a test with just a name on it. In the grade system, they get the zero, with the note, "Bummer, you turned in your test with just your name on it".
To be compliant with my school district, as I finalize grades for the marking period, I replace all assessment grades lower than 50% with a 50% score with a note mentioning the policy and that the student did score lower than 50%.
So far this seems to work well.