You're a priori assuming that schools are failing when on the contrary, children today have much more to learn than just a decade ago.
International schools like IB (which I go to) essentially takes away a person's freedom to do anything except study.
It's ironic because EVERY generation will bash the previous ones. I hear it all the time. Past seniors calls us dumb - we call the freshmans dumb.
I think the illusion is created by the amount of privileges to things like cell phones and ipads children are now able to get. That makes it seem like students are getting a worse education and spending more time playing. What's the past alternatives to cell phones and ipads? Nothing anymore meaningful than what we have now.