Teaching high school, I face the "I worked hard therefore I deserve a good grade" mentality as well. At times to a frustrating degree.
One of the quotes I post in my room is from Samuel Johnson: "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." At the beginning of the year, I point out that quote and explain to my students that working hard is imperative if they want to earn a good grade but that assiduousness alone doesn't translate into good grades. Of course, come research paper time I still have a few students say, "I worked for hours on this and I made a C." I try to respond as gently as possible, but the crux of my explanation is always "That's because it's a C paper."
I think it's helpful sometimes to combat the "hard work is tantamount to an A" mentality by drawing parallels to non-academic activities. For example, athletes understand full well that they have to work hard to win games but that winning a game requires more than diligence.
The more difficult--but more important task--the writer in the NY Times alludes to is teaching students to view education as more than just a grade-earning system.